Please Hear What I’m Not Saying

29 Jul

I did not write the following three paragraphs. I don’t remember where it came from but I read it years ago and it touched my heart. I pray that this will speak to all who read it:

As Christians we are expected to appear victorious. We are expected to be on a continuous spiritual high. We are expected to fly, as the sparrows, undaunted into the storms of life. After all, we are God’s children.

We wear masks to cover our broken spirits, and our emotional wounds. The need for affirming one another is crucial to our process of becoming real, not phony or hypocritical, people of God.

We must be affirmed and we must affirm others. Otherwise, we miss one of the main concepts of the New Testament – to love one another and to bear one another’s burdens.

Please Hear What I’m Not Saying

Don’t be fooled by me.

Don’t be fooled by the face I wear

For I wear a mask. I wear a thousand masks —

    masks that I’m afraid to take off

    and none of them are me.

Pretending is an art that’s second nature with me

But don’t be fooled, for God’s sake don’t be fooled.

I give you the impression that I’m secure

That all is sunny and unruffled with me

    within as well as without,

    that confidence is my name

    and coolness my game,

    that the water’s calm

    and I’m in command,

    and that I need no one.

But don’t believe me. Please!

My surface may be smooth, but my surface is my mask,

My ever-varying and ever-concealing mask.

Beneath lies no smugness, no complacency.

Beneath dwells the real me in confusion, in fear, in aloneness.

But I hide this.

I don’t want anybody to know it.

I panic at the thought of my weaknesses

and fear exposing them.

That’s why I frantically create my masks to hide behind.

They’re nonchalant, sophisticated facades to help me pretend,

To shield me from the glance that knows.

But such a glance is precisely my salvation,

my only salvation,

and I know it.

That is, if it’s followed by acceptance,

and if it’s followed by love.

It’s the only thing that can liberate me from myself

from my own self-built prison walls

from the barriers that I so painstakingly erect.

That glance from you is the only thing that assures me

of what I can’t assure myself,

that I’m really worth something.

 

But I don’t tell you this.

I don’t dare.

I’m afraid to.

I’m afraid you’ll think less of me, that you’ll laugh

and your laugh would kill me.

I’m afraid that deep-down I’m nothing, that I’m just no good

and you will see this

and reject me.

 

So I play my game, my desperate, pretending game

With a facade of assurance without

And a trembling child within.

So begins the parade of masks,

The glittering but empty parade of masks,

And my life becomes a front.

I idly chatter to you in suave tones of surface talk.

I tell you everything that’s nothing

And nothing of what’s everything, of what’s crying within me.

So when I’m going through my routine

Do not be fooled by what I’m saying.

Please listen carefully and try to hear

what I’m not saying.

Hear what I’d like to say

but what I can not say.

 

I dislike hiding.

Honestly.

I dislike the superficial game I’m playing,

the superficial phony game.

I’d really like to be genuine

and me,

But I need your help, your hand to hold

Even though my masks would tell you otherwise.

 

It will not be easy for you.

Long felt inadequacies make my defenses strong.

The nearer you approach me

The blinder I may strike back.

Despite what books say of men, I am irrational;

I fight against the very thing that I cry out for.

You wonder who I am?

You shouldn’t –

for I am every man

and every woman

who wears a mask.

Don’t be fooled by me.

At least not by the face I wear.

– Anonymous

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