Taking Off The Mask

Lord, I’ve spent a lifetime living within my carefully constructed world where survival and approval became the blocks that built my walls.  I was proud of the way in which I was able to live ~ protected and safe from those who frightened me.  It was good to know that somehow through all those years of pain and struggle I arrived safe and insulated and. . .

Now I hear your plea, your command that I come out from my well-worn tomb and I struggle.  Can you hear my cries?  Can you help me understand why I run from those I care about?  Do I dare ask what it is that keeps me from unwrapping the bindings of my fearful heart?

I asked you to change my heart and you replied, “Show me your heart my child.  I cannot change it if you do not show it to me.  I am not a God who would force myself on you.  How long I’ve waited to be of help.  How long I’ve been waiting for you to answer my call.”

After a while, I took off my fearful wrappings and showed you my apologetic heart, beating with timid longings for a love and acceptance I had never truly known.

You have told me to look beyond my fears and see the face of my neighbors, they have much to tell.  Learn from them, they are not much different than you.  When you feel  pain, go to someone in pain; in this you will recognize each other and together you will know true joy.

Yet, your smile is one of firm encouragement, urging me to understand that all I need is love if I am real and you keep telling me that love is what makes us real.

I hear your voice telling me to take off the death mask of self doubt that hides the beauty of my soul.  You gently but firmly ask me to see with new eyes and I resist. . you show me that in life no obstacle is too great when I can reach out and acknowledge who I am in your eyes.

Slowly, carefully the wrappings of guilt and fear found their way to a heap on the floor and I walk toward the Light of your Love.  Like a child learning to toddle I inch toward the opening of this empty tomb and feel the cool breeze of today on my face ~ my glorious, unmasked face.

Sandy Ozanich ~ May 1994

This poem was an eye opener for me.  It taught me to learn to trust and to feel good about my life and not to fear learning new things.  Sometimes these issues take a long while to resolve and even when I thought I had resolved them another aspect of those same issues popped up so I went on to resolve the deeper issues within.  It has been a long journey and one that continues to this day.

I am grateful to God and my friends, professional and otherwise and of course my family for being the support I needed.

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