Wearing the Mask Part 2

Many African-Americans before, during, and after the civil war had to mask their feelings to survive their plight of oppression.  They were at the mercy of the whims  of those they were subject to. Even as free men and women, they often had to put the needs of the people they “worked” for above their own needs and the needs of their family.

Last weeks post and this weeks post are not meant to minimize their plight in any way.  When we discuss wearing a mask, I do not think it comes close to what some African-Americans had to endure at that time in our country’s history.

So, with that said, from the comments on last weeks post, it seems we  all wear masks from time to time.  Although some  try to wear them less, we do not  plan to  stop completely any time soon.   One comment mentioned wearing a mask to protect others.  I have done that.  Another said society has taught us to wear a mask thus dictating  what is considered appropriate and inappropriate behavior.  A couple comments mentioned wearing a mask in order to function on a job or even keep a job.

Therese had a lot of good quotes  that we have all heard at one time or another.  I especially liked her observation that if you wear a mask long enough it can transform you over time for the positive.  It is like stepping out in faith.  I like that thought. I think I may have done that in my journey with lupus.

It really does not bear any fruit to focus excessively on the negative.  I guess you can say I wear a mask by simply not giving the disease  any extra attention sometimes.  When I do, I seem to feel worse, more hopeless.  In the book Being Sick Well one of the interviewees would put a brown paper bag in the center of the table at family gatherings.  When someone brought up her illness they would have to put $5.00 in the bag.  Needless to say, no one said a word.  She was free to be as normal as everyone else that day.

When it is all said and done it really depends on your need at the time.  There is a time when we all need to share our burdens.  Finding a safe environment is key to doing this successfully. We are not meant to carry some things alone.

I am so thankful that all along the journey of life  there have been people there for me. There have been many difficult, dark days.  There have also been times when I have felt completely alone.  At those times I find myself leaning even heavier on God.  I think He allows some of those times to draw us closer to Him.

Here is a short story from Chicken Soup for the Mother’s Soul (page 203) that I would like to share with you.

One day my young daughter was late coming home from school. I was both    annoyed and worried. When she came through the door, I demanded in my upset tone that she explain why she was late.   She said,”Mommy, I was walking home with Julie, and halfway home, Julie dropped her doll and it broke into lots of little pieces.”  “Oh, honey.” I replied, “you were late because you helped Julie pick up the pieces of her doll to put them back together again.”  In her young and innocent voice, my daughter said, “No, mommy. I didn’t know how to fix the doll. I just stayed to help Julie cry.”

Isn’t that what we could all use sometimes?   The freedom to put the mask aside.  No questions, no words of “encouragement” that usually leave us feeling worse or misunderstood. Just the precious words…I will stay to help you cry.

Thanks to those of you that gave your comments last week.  I look forward to hearing from each reader at sometime…Leslie Rose K     May you be blessed.

Encouraging body, soul and spirit.

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4 responses to this post.

  1. Posted by Brenda on February 2, 2011 at 5:06 PM

    Another awesome post Leslie! Yes, I wear all kinds of masks, don’t we all?! But it is so nice to be able to lay those masks aside and just be “normal”. I think that we all can learn from the little girl and just help someone cry or laugh. We need to focus on just being us and being their for our families/friends. Our desease doesn’t not define us, we define our own self.

    Reply

  2. Posted by Kathe on February 3, 2011 at 10:58 AM

    Hi, Leslie! I just read the last two posts about wearing a mask. Being a parent of two children with chronic lyme disease, I know I definitely have had to wear a mask of “normalcy” many, many times…you have to function in the world and go about day to day life and try to look ok on the outside, when inside you just keep thinking of your child..one at home on the couch, so tired and drained from trying to keep wearing her mask. No one understands what she feels like and how hard it is for her to do the things that come so easily for other kids her age. It breaks my heart to see her, to look at pictures of her before she got this disease. I know that God has a plan for both of my daughters to use the experiences they have had with this disease somehow, but from behind my mask, I mourn.

    Reply

    • I cannot even imagine what you go through Kathe. It is so hard to watch our children suffer especially when it is a long term illness. Never stop praying for a miracle, is the best advice I can give. I pray God will help you through this, and that you will have all the wisdom you need for you precious girls.

      Reply

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