Tiny Tim told me, coming home, that he hoped people saw him in church, because he was a cripple, and it might be pleasant to them to remember upon Christmas Day, who made lame beggars walk and blind men see. — Charles Dickens
So much of the time, we go about hiding our faults and failings, weaknesses and vulnerabilities. Like only posting photos to Facebook where we look better than we do in real life, we present a ‘better than real’ image of who and how we are. As when someone asks, “How are you?,” and you answer “Fine,” even when you aren’t.
There’s some pathos and a confession in our recognizing that we aren’t all we ought to be. Even in church — where one might expect or hope that combining the exhortation to honesty and the promise of forgiveness might get us to drop our masks more — our life together can come to feel like either the most together collection of people ever or a complete masquerade party.
All this reminds me of the great James Baldwin quote about “the masks we fear we can’t live without but know we cannot live within.” What if it is also true that others (as well as you) cannot live if we stay behind our masks?
Today, consider what it would be like to let your imperfections go public more fully or more often?
If you need some more convincing to “go outside in your underwear,” have you ever wondered, like Tiny Tim, that others seeing your frailties could be a blessing to them?
~ At the least, it might provide them a sense of company vis a vis their own shortcomings and fears.
~ But even more, could your sharing more openly your “humanness” somehow add to others’ lives. For example, offering them a reminder of a faith that promises that God’s love is not earned by how perfect you are, but grace because God loves you that much. …That in God’s eyes, we’re fine — or at least completely lovable — just as we are.
Think about the vulnerabilities that you often try to cover up but you could instead be more open about… at least might share with someone. You may or may not actually share them. But realize that God already sees them and loves you nevertheless…
Extra-credit: Read Psalm 51 at least twice today, with a significant time between each reading. Is there anything surprising about reading a psalm that is essentially a confession.