Masks (A Poem)

Dear Fellow Parishioners:
Last weekend I shared in my homily an inspirational piece given to me by a longtime teacher. This anonymous writing was presented to my friend on the very first week of his career. It has sat on his desk these past 35+ years guiding his approach to working with his students. It is written from the viewpoint of a young person speaking to an adult. I believe it should be read again and again by every parent, grandparent, teacher, and caregiver. I hope you enjoy it!

Easter peace,
Fr. Brian Fier

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Masks
Don’t be fooled by me,
I wear a thousand masks —
masks that I am afraid to take off ….
For God’s sake, don’t be fooled.
I give the impression
that I am secure…
that confidence is my name and
coolness my game…
and that I need no one.
Please don’t believe me!
My surface may seem smooth,
but my surface is my mask.
Beneath dwells the real me —
in confusion, in fear, in aloneness…
That’s why I frantically
create a mask to hide behind…
to shield me
from the glance that knows.
But such a glance is precisely
my salvation, my only salvation.
That is, if it is followed by acceptance,
if it is followed by love.
But I don’t tell you this.
I’m afraid your glance will not
be followed by acceptance and love.
I’m afraid you’ll think less of me,
that you’ll laugh at me,
So I play my game…
I dislike the superficial game
I’m playing….
I’d like to be really genuine….
But you’ve got to help me….
Each time you’re kind
and gentle and encouraging,
each time you try to understand
because you really care,
my heart grows wings.
I want you to know that,
I want you to know
how important you are to me —
how you can be
the creator of the person
that is me, if you choose.
Please choose….
It’ll not be easy for you.
The nearer you approach,
the blinder I might strike back….
I fight against
the very thing I cry out for.
But I am told that love is stronger
than the strongest walls,
and in this lies my hope —
my only hope!