When we lived in Louisiana, we became more familiar with Mardi Gras. Also known as Fat Tuesday, it is the day before Ash Wednesday and the beginning of Lent. The residents of Louisiana explained the importance of this event and the months of extensive planning for the Mardi Gras celebrations. The abundance of purple, green, and gold fill the cities and businesses preparing for the holiday. Many celebrate with special foods and a parade, complete with decorative floats, beads, costumes, and masks.
One of the most intriguing features of the celebration is the varieties of masks. From the very simple to the most elaborate. Masks are displayed and worn so people are able to act in a way in which they are not recognized–and just for a certain period of time. After the clock strikes midnight, the masks are removed.
As I ponder this tradition, I wonder about the masks we wear. Why do we wear masks? What do we want to hide? How long do we continue to wear masks?
We wear masks to hide what we do not want others to see. Someone may say, “If you only knew the real me,” convinced that another may not like what they discover. Examples: Actions may mask deep hurts. Isolation may mask fears. Arrogance may mask insecurity. False humility may mask pride.
It is scary and risky to reveal ourselves to another. Exercising authenticity and transparency are difficult disciplines. Yet, it seems that once they are put into practice, there is freedom. Plus, we discover that others feel the same at times. Each of us experiences hurt, fear, and insecurity at some point of our lives. We are different yet very much the same.
Our Connections Challenge: Think about the masks you may wear to determine the reason for the mask. Talk with a trusted friend or advisor about how to take off the mask.