I'm sick of people wearing masks. If we'd all just be more honest about what we're struggling with, maybe we'd stop comparing each other and tearing each other to shreds. I was born compassionate. But sometimes walking through this world thinking of everyone else's problems just drives me nuts!
I just want to walk into the grocery store and wipe off people's make-up and ask them what's really on their mind. Especially the people in heels. Who wears heels to buy milk and bananas?! And next time I hear someone chime in a high pitched voice, "Oh, no, you're fine! That's okay!" I just want to say - no, it's not. It's not okay for us to inconvenience one another but I appreciate your forgiveness. Thank you for loving me enough to let me get away with murder or, in this case, budging in line.
But you can't say that at Fareway. That would be weird and you'd never be able to go back to that check-out lady again.
My biggest failure is that I often do what other people are comfortable with. I do what is best for others instead of what I want or what I think is right. That's the principle sin of Anne Elliot in Persuasion. In her situation, though, her family was untrustworthy, vain and didn't know (or care) about Anne's true heart. I've always been okay with the cliche that the choices you make are up to you but you have to live with them. The worst part about my decisions, however, are how they affect other people - not how they might be detrimental to me. I can live with my choices making me suffer, but not my kids or my nieces or my nephews.
What about you? Do the people who you let influence you know your true heart?
Inside that beautiful head of yours, you've got your list of broken dreams and paralyzing fears but you don't let people see them. Why don't we ever just make ourselves vulnerable? There's no other way to grow in love, and that’s how you become part of a family. Otherwise you’re just alone. Alone with your fear.
I think what we’re really afraid of is being alone.
So what we do, is we curl in. We’re angry. I don’t want to be forced to be alone. So I’m going to CHOOSE to be alone. Yeah. How about that? What’s up, God?
It’s a mask. It’s a little kid, pretending to be in control. When her Father knows exactly what she’s up to.
“They heard the sound of the Lord God walking in the garden at the time of the evening breeze, and the man and his wife hid themselves from the presence of the Lord God among the trees of the garden. 9 But the Lord God called to the man, and said to him, “Where are you?” He said, “I heard the sound of you in the garden, and I was afraid, because I was naked; and I hid myself." He said, “Who told you that you were naked?” Genesis 2:8-11
Who told you that because that girl didn’t want to go out with you, that no one ever will?
Who told you that you need to work so hard to prove yourself?
Who told you that you weren’t good enough?
Who told you that Confession wasn’t necessary? Who told you that Catholic Church is a bunch of lying hypocrites who made stuff up that’s not in the Bible?
Who told you that there’s more to life than what God offers? That no one will ever love you? Want you? Chase after you?
That your parent’s divorce is your fault? That you’re stupid and will never go anywhere in life?
Who told you that you’re foolish? Naïve? That God is holding out on you and you’ve got to get it yourself?
Who told you that I, the Lord God, can’t be trusted?
That my plans are for your downfall, your ignorance, so I can dupe you?
Who told you that you were naked?
It all comes back to one person. And he is the one who we renounce in our first Baptismal promise – do you reject Stan? And all of his works? And all of his empty promises?
Sure, we reject them. But it doesn’t mean we don’t fall for the trick sometimes.
What was the original mask?
The fig leaves in the garden. Where Adam and Eve covered the holiest parts of their body because they thought that they were bad.
And ever since then we have never been naked without shame.
Girls do you remember the first time you played dressed up and twirled around in front of your parents so they would tell you that you were pretty? Guys do you remember the first time your Dad made you try to throw a baseball and you just wanted to hear you might have what it takes to make him proud?
We know, as children, how to be ourselves. How to be “naked.” And then somehow over time… we learn that to be naked is wrong. Humans are always going to reject and disappoint us. Humans forget who we are, because they forget who they are. That’s original sin. That’s what Baptism calls us out of. Original sin is a condition from which we must be saved. There is no way out of this trap without a savior. Without Baptism.
The only defense we have against original sin is to seek a state of grace. Fresh from confession. Ready to start over. Ready to be brave.
The first, original sin was that it was better to be alone. To do it all yourself. To become powerful. To not need God to make yourself happy.
The original sin was pride. And that’s where everything else comes from. There is nothing Christian about using others. About living your life to give yourself pleasure. To make yourself comfortable. To make yourself feel good. To make yourself look better than other people.
Competition is just masturbation. And just so you know, it’s a sin. God would never call you to be better than other people. God doesn’t call you to procreate by yourself. He wants you to hold hands and kneel for peace, not put up your fists and drag each other down. You begin a life where all you do is use – use yourself, use other people, and basically – try to get them to worship you. That’s what social media is all about, anyway. Followers. Re-tweets. It’s ridiculous. I’m old, so I still use Facebook. And my sister and I tease each other when we post pictures of the triplets because we obviously feel lonely. (The triplets get like 100 likes per picture.) I use my sisters’ babies just so I can feel accepted by people I don’t even really know! That’s pathetic!
So I’m just going to put this out there: Dressing slutty is a mask. Sometimes, dressing in like super comfy clothes is a mask. Like you just got back from the gym. What? I mean, how many people really wear sweats because they were sweating? Boasting about our achievements is a mask. Posturing in front of other guys is a mask. Instagram is a mask. They’re literally filters that keep people from seeing what you really look like.
I. am. so. sick. of faking it.
And it doesn’t stop when you get out of high school. I’ve watched my two sisters get married and I can say for certain - wedding photos – are a mask. There is nothing picture perfect about that day! When you see all those engagement photos on Pinterest? It's like - how much of that relationship is really her holding like that and her looking off at other people? I would never hang out with a girl like that.
Pictures. How much are you living for the picture? The record? The proof that you exist?
Don't you know that the one who made your existence has known about you forever and will hold you in the palm of his hand until you've been here 10,000 years, with no less days to sing God's praise than when you first begun?
Our generation needs to learn to want a good marriage, not a beautiful wedding. Want a healthy body, not a skinny one. Want loyal friends, not the ones who make you popular. Want eternal life, instead of … whatever YOLO is about. Want what IS right, instead of what looks good. What is REAL instead of what looks like… it’s under control.
So my plea for you. Is don’t chase the allusion of being happy. Don’t chase a mask. Chase the REAL you which is NOT always going to be happy because being authentic and being who you really are means admitting that you were made for heaven and you will NEVER belong here. It means you have to work really – really hard – to change this world. This crap is never going to satisfy you.
When the rich young man came to Jesus seeking eternal life, what did he tell him to do? To give away. All of his possessions. To rid himself of the mask. To go so far as to literally give away what tied him to this earth. To follow Jesus to heaven.
If you don’t want to let it go, you are never going to rise.
The masks we wear are to create an illusion of who we want people to think we are. Good grades because I’m so smart I don’t even have to try, not like you – loser. To be honest, I have NO idea what people think of me because I’m too stuck on who I wish I was! Sometimes I don’t even know who I am, and I'm almost 30!
And then I remember this person. This person who loves me. The real me. And when I don’t even know her – when I’ve forgotten all about the desires of her heart. He remembers.
Do you have someone like that? Someone who knows who you are when you've forgotten?
Yes, you do.
He reminds me, and He'll remind you.
But He won't look at you with a mask. You can't see him until the blinders are gone - the blinders you put on other people but only end up putting on yourself, sweet girl. He'll look a mile away, like he's mouthing words to you until you slip off the headphones that only want to hear what will please you and set your own plans into motion.
That's when he reminds me.
He will only shake his head until I'm done pretending.
Because Jesus is my happiness. He is where my heart belongs. Did you ever stop to think that maybe it’s not Catholic guilt that we carry around? Maybe it’s the Truth. Maybe it’s our Baptismal Promise that we would follow Him and love Him and when we stop, and when we stray, He’s calling us back. It has nothing to do with how we were raised, but where we come from.
I believe that Jesus Christ was who He said he was. I believe it not because I’ve had some crazy spiritual experience that you haven’t. I haven't. I'm not special to anyone, only to God. I believe in Jesus because I’m not happy unless I know I’m as close to Him as I can be. I don’t want to be alone. But my happiness is in doing His will. My biggest fear is not being brave enough to do what He asks me to do.
Yes you are going to be with Jesus forever. No one else. You and Him. Forever, and always, in everything, for everything - forever. You and Jesus.
Don’t you think it’s about time you started living that way?
God asks me that every day. Don't you think it's time to stop trying to do it all alone? Stop acting like this is a one man show and admit that I'm the director and you're my star who can do nothing wrong in my eyes so long as you stay in my arms?
Set aside the dirty mask that comes from the prince of darkness. And put on the crown of glory - which is your birthright - that comes only from the Father of lights.