We spend so much of our lives wearing masks, we run the danger of forgetting who we truly are. We may have different reasons for wearing them, but at the core I think it’s because there is a fear that who we are isn’t enough. It’s an insecurity exploited by advertisements that try to persuade us to buy their products promising that if we do, we will be smarter, more beautiful and live better lives. We buy into this subtle messaging because if we’re honest, we could all be a little bit better.
So we put on masks to cover up our failures and insecurities. It’s why we post only the best versions of ourselves on social media. We would never dream of sharing what our lives are really like.
We often wear the masks of imitating others. Growing up I always tried to be like other people. I wanted to be like brother so i combed my hair like his, and I wore his clothes. Other days I wanted to be like John Elway and pictured myself throwing a football just like he did. We don’t just do this a children. We do it as adults too.
There isn’t anything inherently wrong with imitating others, but the more you do it the farther it will take you away from who you are. Life is extremely short, why spend it trying to be someone other than yourself.
I once read that Michelangelo was asked how he went about carving the sculpture of David, and he is reported to have responded by saying, “David was always in the marble, I just chipped away everything that wasn’t David.”
In many ways this is the work of our lives. To chip away at everything that isn’t genuinely ourselves. To chip away the expectations of others, their criticisms and their judgments. To chip away your insecurities, your failures, and your mistakes. My Everyday Cathedral is being reminded that who I am is ok, and I need to chip away at everything that isn’t me.
“So God created humankind in his image, in the image of God he created them, male and female he created them.” (Genesis 1v27, NRSV)