Have you ever noticed that sometimes it's good to look back on your life in order to better understand how you got to where you are today? In some ways, it gives meaning and depth to the "now".
As our two sons get older, my wife and I have more of these moments of looking back to when they were little (I know, a little pathetic, but that is what's happening). This week I was thinking about our oldest son's first birthday. It was a big deal, a first-born son party blowout.
Man, it was happening.
We had family and friends around us. We had food, streamers, cake, candles and - wait for it...
a C-L-O-W-N! Yup, a clown!
My friend dressed up in this crazy clown outfit that was way too small (we nicknamed him Wedgie the Clown ever since). When Ian appeared in that clown outfit, our oldest son responded in a way that we did not prepare ourselves for: HE SCREAMED HIS LITTLE LUNGS OUT! It was a bad scene; it could have scarred him for life, but since he was only one, he has no memory of it. We sure do.
Without the clown outfit, our son loved Ian. Once that suit was on, everything changed.
I look back and laugh at that moment, but it also makes me stop and think about how at times in life we live with a mask on. At times, we pretend to be something that we are not.
We wear the "I am okay" mask, the "I am important" mask, the "I don't need help" mask, the "I am the victim" mask, the "I don't care" mask... for some, a mask is a way of life.
I ask this: If we live life trying to pretend we are something we are not, is that really living? Is that the way life was meant to be? I know this idea can be taken too far, and some might, but don't you think that living from a place of integrity, honesty, truthfulness and authenticity is a better place?
Yes, we wear masks for all kinds of reasons, but I want us to really look at them and ask ourselves: Is this really living life the way we were meant to live?
If you reading this, I want to encourage you to stop clowning around, and consider taking the mask off.