Once there was a traveler who was touring West Germany a few years after the war. In one of the towns he was visiting, he was invited to spend the night with a certain family. The family consisted of a father, a mother and a 2-year old boy.
The father began to tell the traveler something about the adoption the family especially about the circumstances surrounding the adoption of his youngster whom they had rescued during the war years.
The father said, “Our boy was just a poor orphan when we first saw him. He was in rags and very dirty, but his shoes were the worst of all. The upper parts were in tatter and the shoes had huge holes in them. When we took him in, we gave him new clothes and threw his old ones away. We decided, however, to keep those battered shoe as a reminder of how bad off he had been when he first came here. I keep them on a shelf, and when the boy complains or become unruly, I merely walk slowly to the shelf, haul the shoes down and remind him of how much we have done for him.”
The traveler saw that the boy looked hurt and ashamed and, in fact, a bit unwanted as this story was told. The traveler did not say anything since he didn’t want to offend his host, but he thought to himself, “what a blessing it is that God does not continually drag our old shoes!”
An individual can always have the option of shielding himself by displaying such a tough persona. But at the end of his show where he acts as an actor, a director and a playwright all wrapped into one larger-than-life stage character, he finds himself susceptible to pains and frustrations just like everyone else.
In this Friday post, I’m sharing with you a wonderful reflective literary piece. Happy reading.
Please listen to what I’m not saying…
Don’t be fooled by me.
Don’t be fooled by the face I wear.
For I wear a mask, I wear a thousand masks.
Masks that I’m afraid to take off,
and none of them is me.
Pretending is an art that’s second nature of me.
But don’t be fooled, for God’s sake, don’t be fooled.
I gave you the impression that I’m secure,
that all is sunny and unruffled with me,
within as well as without;
that confidence is my name,
and coolness my game;
that the weather’s calm
and I’m in command,
and that I need no one.
But don’t believe me.
My surface may seem smooth, but my surface is my mask.
Beneath lies no smugness, co complacence.
Beneath dwells the real me in confusion,
But I hide this,
I don’t want anybody to know it.
I panic at the thought of my weakness
and my fear of being exposed.
That’s why I frantically create a mask to hide behind,
a nonchalant, sophisticated façade,
to help me pretend,
to shield me from the glance that knows.
But such a glance is precisely my salvation,
my only salvation.
And I know it.
That is, if it’s followed by acceptance,
and it’s followed by love,
It’s the only thing that can liberate me
from my own self-built prison walls,
from the barriers that I so painstakingly erect.
It’s the only thing that will assure me of what
I cant assure myself,
that I’m really worth something.
But I don’t tell you this.
I don’t care.
I’m afraid to.
I’m afraid your glance will not be followed
by acceptance and love,
I’m afraid that you’ll think less of me,
that you’ll laugh,
and your laugh will kill me.
I’m afraid that deep down I’m nothing.
that I’m just no good,
and that you’ll see this and reject me.
So I play my game,
my desperate pretending game,
with a façade of assurance without,
and a trembling child within.
And so begins the parade of masks,
And my life becomes a front.
I idly chatter to you in the suave tones of surface talk,
Sa aking pagtanda, unawain mo sana ako at pagpasensyahan. Kapag dala ng kalabuan ng mata ay nakabasag ako ng pinggan o nakatapon ng sabaw sa hapag kainan, huwag mo sana akong kagagalitan. Maramdamin ang isang matanda. Nagse-self-pity ako sa tuwing sisigawan mo ako. Kapag mahina na ang tenga ko at hindi ko maitindihan ang sinasabi mo, huwag mo naman sana akong sabihan ng ‘binge!’ Paki-ulit na lang ang sinabi mo o pakisabi na lang. Pasensya ka na, anak, matanda na talaga ako. Kapag mahina na tuhod ko, pagtiyagaan mo sana akong tuluyang tumayo, katulad ng pag-aalalay ko sa iyo noong nag-aaral ka pa lamang lumakad.
Pagpasensyahan mo sana ako kung ako man ay nagiging makulit at paulit ulit na parang sirang plaka. Basta pakinggan mo nalang ako. Huwag mo sana akong pagtatawanan o pagsasawaang pakinggan. Natatandaan mo anak noong bata ka pa? Kapag gusto mo ng lobo, paulit-ulit mo ‘yong sasabihin, maghapon kang mangungulit hangga’t hindi mo nakukuha ang gusto mo. Pinagtyagaan ko ang kakulitan mo.
Pagpasensyahan mo rin sana ang aking amoy. Amoy matanda, amoy lupa. Huwag mo sana akong piloting maligo. Mahina na ang katawan ko. Madaling magkasakit kapag nalamigan, huwag mo sana akong pandirihan. Natatandaan mo noong bata ka pa? Pinagtyagaan kitang habulin sa ilalim ng kama kapag ayaw mong maligo.
Kapag may konti kang panahon, magkuwentuhan naman tayo, kahit sandali lang. Inip na ako sa bahay, maghapong nag-iisa. Walang kausap. Alam kong busy ka sa trabaho, subalit nais kong malaman mo na sabik na sabik na akong makakwentuhan ka, kahit alam kong hindi ka interesado sa kuwento ko. Natatandaan mo anak, noong bata ka pa? Pinagtyagaan kong pakinggan at intindihin ang pautal-utal mong kuwento tungkol sa iyong teddy bear.
At kapag dumating ang sandal na ako’y magkakasakit at maratay sa banig ng karamdaman, huwag mo sana akong pagsawaang alagaan. Pagpasensyahan mo na sana kong ako man ay maihi o madumi sa higaan, pagtyagaan mo sana akong alagaan sa mga huling sandali ng aking buhay. Tutal hindi na naman ako magtatagal. Kapag dumating ang sandali ng aking pagpanaw, hawakan mo sana ang aking kamay at bigyan mo ako ng lakas ng loob na harapin ang kamatayan. At huwag kang mag-alala, kapag kaharap ko na ang Diyos na lumikha, ibubulong ko sa kanya na pagpalain ka sana… dahil naging mapagmahal ka sa iyong ama’t ina…
**** Copy courtesy of CWL Spiritual Director St. Augustine Parish Baliuag, Bulacan Thanks to Kirby for sharing this heartwarming piece. I cried the first time I read this letter.
Persons are gifts;
At least Jesus thought so.
“Father, I want those you have given me to be where I am.”
I agree with Jesus…
And also want those whom the Father has given to me to be where I am.
Persons are gifts which the Father sends me wrapped!
Some are wrapped very beautifully:
They are very attractive when I see them.
Some come in very ordinary wrapping paper.
Once in while there is a “Special Delivery!”
Some persons are gifts which come very loosely wrapped,
Others very tightly.
But the wrapping is not the gift!
It is so easy to make this mistake…
It is amusing when babies do it.
Sometimes the gift is very easy to open up.
Sometimes I need others to help.
Is it because they are afraid?
Does it hurt?
Maybe they have been opened up before and thrown away!
Could I be that the gift is not for me?
I am a person. Therefore, I am a gift, too!
A gift to myself, first of all.
The Father gave myself to me.
Have I really looked inside the wrappings?
Perhaps I’ve never accepted the gift that I am…
Could it be that there is something else inside the wrappings
than what I think there is?
Maybe I’ve never seen the wonderful gift that I am?
Could the Father’s gifts be anything but beautiful?
I love the gifts which those who love me give:
Why not this gift from the Father?
And I am a gift to other persons.
Am I willing to be given by the Father to others?
A man for others?
Do others have to be content with wrappings…
never permitted to enjoy the gift?
Ever meeting of persons is an exchange of gifts.
But a gift without a giver is not a gift;
It is a thing devoid of relationships to giver or givee.
Friendship is a relationship between persons
who see themselves as they truly are:
gifts of the Father to each other for others
When I keep my friend, possess him,
I destroy his ‘gift-ness.’
I lose it;
If I lose it for others,
I save it.
Persons are gifts,
gifts received and gifts given…
like the Son.
Friendship is the response of persons-gifts
to the Father-Giver
Friendship is Eucharist!
(Fr. George Ninetemann, OP)
I am having a talk with 34 YEers this afternoon. It’s my first time to discuss the topic, “Personhood in the Community”. [I used to talk on the “Two Blind Men”] Hope I’ll do it just well… Hmmm. It’s difficult to inspire people specially when you fell like you’re down and troubled….
Thanks to the reflective text I found which I love sharing above…
Thanks to the wonderful people who have been GIFTS for/to me, too!
Life is about getting inspired… and being an inspiration!