Posted on Thursday, November 5, 2009
in Emotional, Relational, Social, Spiritual
“While the H1N1 virus has sickened tens of thousands of people and closed summer camps in a season when there should be little flu activity, it has killed far fewer than the 36,000 Americans who die from seasonal influenza each year. ”
I had not idea — no idea — that the “flu” was so deadly. I was blind to the pain and suffering that people experience.
In order to protect themselves many people defensively protect themselves with masks.
“You may have seen many pictures of people wearing masks in order to protect themselves from the H1N1 virus. Ray said she believes the masks become ineffective the minute they become moist, which happens rather quickly.”
Regardless of how quickly the masks seem to be effective I’ve seen many people wearing them.
Pain and suffering causes us to protect ourselves — to hide. One of the many strategies we use is to create masks. Masks. Facades. A public self to hide the wounded private self.
We wear them. And, when people around us take their mask off it can look messy. We can feel ourselves retreating from their pain. We wish that they would put their mask back on.
That reminds me of a great quote from the movie Princess Bride:
Fezzik: Why do you wear a mask? Were you burned by acid, or something like that?
Man in Black: Oh no, it’s just that they’re terribly comfortable. I think everyone will be wearing them in the future.
We all resort to using masks. We all give in to our fears and retreat into our self-protective facades.
Do you have on your mask today? Are you pretending you are just fine?
– Did you toss and turn sleeplessly last night?
– Did you cry yourself to sleep?
– Did you awake regretfully unprepared to face a brand new day?
Have you hid yourself today?
Did you sit guardedly behind your mask?
Are you in disguise?
We regale from pain. We retreat.
So many of us face life’s struggles hiding from others, God and even ourselves.
Is that were you’re at? You don’t know who you are. You don’t know what you’re about. You’re not even certain where you’re you now.
You becoming someone that you don’t want to be?
You tired of trying so hard to fit in?
Developing friendships challenges us to be kind to ourselves and to others. True friends respectfully take our masks done. True friends respectfully invite others to remove their masks too.
Stacie Orrico’s Genuine take us to task challenging us to see life differently. She challenges us to trust the love of God to free us from our propensity to hide in our masks:
He loves you for who you are now
And who you’ll be
Don’t fear in truth there’s reality
I don’t have all the answers?
But I know the One who does
And I know there’s freedom and truth
Paul, no stranger to hardship himself could assure us of the certainty of God’s love and loyalty:
“Can anything ever separate us from Christ’s love? Does it mean he no longer loves us if we have trouble or calamity, or are persecuted, or hungry, or destitute, or in danger, or threatened with death? … No, despite all these things … I am convinced that nothing can ever separate us from God’s love. Neither death nor life, neither angels nor demons, neither our fears for today nor our worries about tomorrow—not even the powers of hell can separate us from God’s love.“
With the comfort and assurance of God’s love and care we can treat ourselves more kindly. We are not alone. You are not alone!
Aware of God’s presence and love we can treat ourselves more kindly. Enveloped in love kindness expresses itself.
Enveloped in love people will find us more attractive. People hunger for real friends. They will seek you out. They will want your friendship.
They will see God in you.
As they become more safe with you it’s then that you can invite them to reduce the use of their mask so they can experience the love of God which is setting you free.