Mardi Gras is quickly approaching. King cakes, Mardi Gras beads and decorations are placed in the front entrances of almost every grocery store in Louisiana. Personally, when I think of Mardi Gras, I don’t think of festivals and carnivals. I generally think of king cakes (even though I don’t like them as they are generally really sweet) and masquerade parties.
Growing up I never participated in anything related to Mardi Gras. However, some years ago I attended an elegant masquerade party in New Orleans. It was an amazing unforgettable experience. It was like an exclusive prom for adults. Everyone was stylish. Different people wore costumes and so on, and most wore some type of unique Venetian mask.
Mardi Gras immediate makes me think of masks. Today, I don’t want to discuss those types of masks. Today I want to discuss the invisible masks we place over our heart.
Masking is a term used to describe how one conceals an emotion by portraying another emotion. Oftentimes masking deals with concealing a negative emotion (usually sadness, frustration, and anger) with a positive emotion.
At one time or another we have all worn masks to conceal emotions. No one is always transparent.
In my heart of hearts I would love to live a life where everyone is transparent in some sort of peaceful emotional utopia. However, I’m wise enough to recognize there are people with evil intentions constantly masquerading around me. So, even though I desire transparency, I still put on a mask sometimes. Not with the intention to manipulate or fool anyone, but as a form of protection.
Look, I am sending you out as sheep among wolves. So be as shrewd as snakes and harmless as doves.Matthew 10:16 NLT (Jesus speaking to his disciples)
A few nights ago I had this dream.
This dream is deep. It may be a little weird… but hey, it’s a dream.
When I awoke I realized how important it is to be confident. I also recognized how some of the masks I’ve worn over the years has slightly changed how I see myself.
The Setting: This dream takes place in my bedroom at my father’s home. This is where I spent the majority of my adolescent life. It is a large bedroom that easily fits a bunkbed and a queen bed beside it with a nightstand between the two. Plus it has an area for a small couch and dressers. One door leads to a hallway, and the other door leads to a large bathroom and closet.
The Cast: The dream included myself, my best friend (let’s call him Joe) and three beautiful women (who I’ve never met nor seen outside of this dream). In the dream we are all adults.
The Storyline: It took place around midnight. We all knew each other. It seemed as if we were having a planned sleep over.
The Dream: Throughout the night, prior to going to bed, we all were socializing. Joe and I both flirted with all three women. I felt the sexual tension in the room. We then started planning sleeping arrangements. Joe said he would sleep in the closet and allow the women to sleep in the beds, while I slept in the bottom bunkbed.
Around that time one of the women started to intentionally flirt with me. We privately went into the bathroom to change into our pajamas, and eventually returned to the bedroom; joining the other two women.
I leave the bedroom to tell Joe what happened and express my elated heart, as I was attracted to her. But, after I told Joe what happened he criticized me harshly for not having the courage to be forthright with my feelings towards her by responding to her flirts, and initiate sexual energy with her.
My heart downcast, I quietly walk out of the closet and get into my bunkbed. I remember the lamp on the nightstand provided the only light in the shadowy room. Joe then enters the bedroom. He confidently begins to flirt with the woman sleeping on the queen bed. He asks if she wants to have sex, and she replies with a yes.
In their attempt to be respectful, they begin to engage intimately with each other under blankets, while myself and the other two women attempt to ignore them.
In that moment, I’m pretending to be asleep while in the dream. Here is where I begin to feel so many emotions.
I remember feeling dispirited because I didn’t act upon my feelings of attraction. I felt astonished by Joe’s audacity to pursue what he wanted. And, I also felt a sense of strength as I kept my convictions despite Joe’s criticism and my own personal sexual urges. Because in the end… I didn’t want sex, I wanted love.
In the dream I wore a mask.
I sometimes put on a mask when I conversate with women. In the dream it concealed my natural sexual desires while I was in the conversation with the woman who was flirting with me.
Life is about the survival of the fittest. If you need to conceal your true emotions by wearing a mask at your job, or at church, or with your friends and family… by all means do it.
People become good at the things they practice the most. So, be mindful about how much you conceal your true emotions… because eventually you may wake up to see your own reflection in the mirror and not recognize the man in the mirror.
Love who you are. Use wisdom when masking your emotions.