Take off your mask: ditch the painted grin Photo of masquerade mask from New Orleans

“So with a painted grin, I play the part again So everyone will see me the way that I see them.”

The song “Stained Glass Masquerade” by Casting Crowns has been playing in my head all day and so I thought I’d share it with you.  I’m particularly haunted by the lines, “So with a painted grin, I play the part again. So everyone will see me the way that I see them.”  If we are not careful, we end up looking more like the Joker character in Batman than a dancer at a masquerade ball.  

Wearing a mask can be so tempting; it appears to offer protection and privacy and yet, masks can be frightening, claustrophobic, distorting, regimented – for the wearer as well as the viewer. There are times when we feel on top of the world, there are times when we feel like we’re in danger of falling off the edge.  My challenge to you and to me is to own both those feelings, to not hide behind a mask, to not put on that plastic smile but to instead say, “I see you, will you see me too?

Over the last 18 months, I’ve had to take a journey from “numbness” to feeling again, of being willing to feel pain, grief, sadness, anger, fear so that I could also experience joy, delight, excitement, freedom.  “Taking the edge off” through prescribed medication or comfort eating or shopping was no longer enough; I had to give myself permission to be, to feel, to “speak the truth in love”; to explore the meaning of the verse, “Whom the Son (Jesus) sets free, is free indeed.” Not to hide behind Christian / social platitudes but to tell it how it really is!  I’m exploring different sides of me that I’d buried for years.

It’s no accident that the last 18 months or so has seen a rise in creativity.  I have collected over 100 poems I’ve written, I’ve made about 40 blog posts, I have written over 30000 words of a children’s novel with my husband. We might feel ‘safe’ behind the walls we hide behind but are we really living?  Are we fulfilling our dreams or are we in danger of living for the type of someday referenced in the film Knight and Day?

“someday” is a very dangerous word. it’s a codeword for “never”

Below is a prayer poem I wrote at what seemed like the start of  my journey to freedom.

31/12/12 The future

Starry, starry night

Your lights twinkle

In the dark, velvet sky

What do they see?

What do they know?

What is in store for me?

God I want to live life to the full

Get off this eternal loop

Be free, to be me

Please show me another way

Please make a way for me

To be strong

And carry on

Every day


Are you there?

Do you really exist?

It’s so hard to believe

Difficult to hear you

Over bitterness’ twist

Please intervene

Heal me

Bless me with sleep

Help me let go of hurts so deep


I’m so tired of fighting

To get through the day

Instead of living my life

All the way

 © Michelle Sherlock © Looking4Godtoday.wordpress.com 2014 All rights reserved


One thought on “Taking off the mask

  1. Pingback: Depression (dealing with loss part 3) | Looking4GodToday

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