By Debbie Z

The Mask

No, not the movie.  Or the kind of mask worn on Halloween while trying to score some candy.  But the kind that we all wear from time to time, that looks just like us.  The mask we use to hide behind.

Depression and suicide have been in the news lately, with the tragic death of Robin Williams.  When I first heard that he had died, I thought it must have been a heart attack, (he certainly was hyperactive) or an accident of some kind.  But then the real reason came out and I thought, What?!  Why?!  From my limited perception,  as someone who didn’t really know him, he seemed to be full of life and laughter; generous with his talent and successful. I’m not naive to the fact that he probably had his problems, like we all do, but nothing that would make him take such a drastic and final action.  Apparently, he too, was hiding behind a mask.

As I talk with others and consider the drama of my own life,  I realize that depression and despair are common, human afflictions that affects many of us, just in varying degrees.  Even as far back as Bible times, great men like Jeremiah and King David recorded their feelings of discouragement and despair.

Psalms 55:4,5 “My heart is in anguish within me; the terrors of death have fallen on me. Fear and trembling have beset me; horror has overwhelmed me.

Most of us just accept the fact that from time to time we will be frustrated or discouraged to the point where we feel like saying “just shoot me!”  But we must not listen to those voices or give in to their power because they are lying to us.  Instead, we need to be reminded of the truth.

And what is that?  It is this. God has a purpose for your life and you have great value to Him as well as to your family and friends.   Sometimes truth gets buried under a load of lies and as Tom said last month, “we are indeed blessed if we have a good friend to help us get free of that burden”;  a friend who gives us the freedom to take off our mask so we can breathe and see clearly.

As good looking as some masks are, they are not very comfortable for long periods of time.  So, each of us needs to find a place where you can be the real you.  A good place to start is with the One who created you, who knows all about you and loves you. Psalm 139 says that God has formed you with great care. He knows each detail of your day, every word, even before you say it, and He loves you.  No mask required.

Sometimes a mask comes in handy.  It can protect us from pollution or disease. It can give courage to others, even if we are feeling unsure or afraid. But it is never meant to become part of us.  Find that place where you can be “true-faced”.  I have, and as Tom would say, “how ‘bout you?”

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