The day is young, still damp with dew, and the faces we layer are many. It’s a new dawn, a new start, a new chance to be the “me” we’ve never quite reached. We stand in the mirror and catch the ugly- the blemish, the burdened, the angry, the proud. Sheepish and embarrassed at ourselves in this light, we reach past the soap that cleanses and toward the many faces we’ll show off today.
The first face goes on with the ring of the bell of the door that keeps real out. The dirty dishes are thrown into the cupboard as the door is opened, and we are the better than the Jones’ neighbor. There’s no need to bring this one inside- the face only stretches so far. The carpool to work begins and we smooth the face of competence over our skin. Keep smoothing, keep covering, keep gluing this face on tight. This face has little room for movement or flinching, there is room only for “just right”. And so just right we’ll be until the clock chimes five and we are inside the four walls of the car. We put on that face of neighborly competition until we’re back at our own front door.
The party begins; we’ve put on fresh clothes and a brand new face to match. We rub our cheeks at first because the face feels plastic and hard. But a few laughs, a few drinks, a few jokes at another’s expense, and the face is pliable and relaxed. We are comfortable behind the face of surface, of putting brokenness under the rug, and of laughing at anything that is not right or whole, as if we’ve never known it ourselves.
The party ends and the night closes shut like a page of a pop up book. That face comes off and we’re left with the one we wear for the ride home with a close friend or spouse. This face, like saran wrap, is thin but guarded, so real is visible but still cannot pass through. Conversation is open but still wrapped up tight, in our control alone.
The door is shut and the light goes out, and we are alone in our room once more. The day is old and about to turnover, and still our ideal “me” was not reached. Our last face comes off and we’re left with ourselves, to ponder the day’s events. We think on its problems, on why we’re unlovable, but still never reach for the soap.
And now we’re in the presence of him who has never worn a mask. We’re out of faces , and yet we’re scared to let him see our scars. His beauty is fluid, his voice rough with power, his presence both a terror and a comfort. He reaches toward our face and touches it, not with a mask, but with his hands that are soap. He washes it until the years of self deprecation are gone. The ugly falls off, the angry comes away, and the selfish is loosed from our pores. The longer he washes, the more our faces loose their distortion and blurriness. In his presence, we’ve become clear, and whole, too beautiful for any mask. He has made us radiant with the soap that cleanses, the soap that was labeled “grace”.
Tomorrow we’ll awaken to the damp, new day, and we’ll wring it out with confidence. There will be no need for any faces, no ideal “me” to become. There is no put together to wear, for we’ve been put together by he who creates. There is no just right to put on at work, for we were made just right by the giver of righteousness. There is no confident to put on at a party, for we are genuinely confident that we are loved beyond measure. And there is no saran wrap between those we love, for we can now extend the grace we’ve been given. We were deemed enough to be washed in the purest waters, and tomorrow, today’s “me” is enough.
The need to wear faces is obsolete.