It happens that the author of
these meditations is obliged to wear an eye patch. The reason for this
need not concern us now; but the patch itself has some interesting
effects. Small children know immediately that you’re a pirate, who is
either terrifyingly wicked or really cool.
Adults sometimes react the same
way. One encounter in particular: I was in a grocery store, pushing
the cart for my wife, when this man came around the end of one aisle and caught
a glimpse of me—and did a double take.
This man was about my age, but
his life had been that of a ironworker. He had forearms bigger than my
thighs. If you could have read his mind at that second, I suspect you
would have heard him thinking, “I wonder if that guy’s as tough as I am.”
If you could have read my mind,
you would have heard, “Lord, please don’t let him find out!”
Sometimes fantasy (the pirate)
and reality (the ironworker) come together like that. We even choose to
have this happen whenever we go to the theater or to a motion picture.
The playwright depends upon “suspension of disbelief.” It means that you
are “into” the play, but not in the play. If Shakespeare is done, you
might find yourself watching an actor who proclaims himself to be (for example)
Henry V. You know he isn’t, but you accept that; you suspend your
disbelief and permit him to be Henry in your mind, for a while.
This happens with us, too.
A friend in the medical profession told me that she put on her “professional
mask” each day; warm, sympathetic, caring—and uninvolved. Otherwise, the
stress of dealing with so much misery would overwhelm her.
We do the same. We are
players on the world’s stage, and most of us have a mask. We don’t let
this mask down, for then people would know who we really are. (“Who was
that masked man?”) Our mask hides our problems but allows our success to
We come now to the time when the
mask should be dropped. There is no sense keeping it up during Communion;
the Playwright knows it all anyway. In Communion we meet the real Christ;
He said “this is my body” and “this is my blood.” Would you meet the One
upon whom reality itself depends, trying to hide your reality from Him?
Drop the mask at His feet; may it be the real you that now seeks the real