I know what you’re thinking. But this piece isn’t about those who eschew the practice of wearing masks to protect others against COVID. Rather, it’s about what happens when we take off the “masks” we wear as defensive structures, e.g., my Author mask, my Social Butterfly mask, my Badass mask, my Smile-At-My-Pain mask. My masks serve me, but I don’t want to confuse them with who I am.

Who Am I?

And who am I without my masks? Who are you?

I have a mask but I am not my mask. I have a story and I am more than my story. I have faith, feelings, beliefs, a history, dreams, habits (good and bad) and that is not the whole of me.

When we take off our masks we open ourselves to intimacy. We show ourselves, beyond the Good-Looking mask and into the darker masks: control, anger, prejudice, fear, doubt . . . The list is long and personalized, carefully crafted from the material of our own experiences and specifically from the fabric of our own wounding.

The path is not easy and it’s likely a life’s work. But the invitation is clear. We can continue to put on more masks, moving farther from our true selves, or we can let them drop away, revealing who God perfectly made us to be.

It will be a lovely day when we no longer have to wear COVID protection masks. When at last, we can visit and kiss and squeeze our family and friends to pieces. hen we can smile at a stranger who really needs a smile and they can see it. Until that great day comes, let’s think of the simple truth of who we really are as our only mask. We will achieve greater intimacy. And freedom. The capacity to love ourselves and others well. Then we can blossom and grow, in ways we cannot imagine.

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