Subtitle: Note to self…
Note: Rummaging through old, long-forgotten files (in an irony-of-ironies-moment in this coronavirus-induced mask-wearing time), I came across this poem that I wrote on Monday, June 1, 1987, a week before my 35th birthday; the heart, the point of which is a lesson I have needed to relearn and to practice every day.
Paraphrasing the prayer, I
“live and move and have my being”
in a sphere
that, each day, demands that I (or so I hear a call to) don a mask;
the mask of fitness, boldness, happiness
(my take on the Olympic hendiatris: citius, altius, fortius)
and all to hide the oft helpless, hopeless soul I really am.
Oft, after yet another make-believe day,
I, confused, do not perceive (remember?) my real self:
Is it (am I) the mask or the one behind the mask?
Oft, when I ask myself, given a choice,
I choose the mask:
the appearance (the performance)
of how I want to be seen by others and by me.
Yet when God, Who fully knows me, says, “I love you, Paul,”
I, still confused, do not know to which “you” God speaks:
Is it the mask or the one behind the mask?
If I choose the latter,
believing that God could not possibly love helpless, hopeless me,
then I reject God’s Love.
If I choose the former,
believing that God must love how I appear to the world to be,
then I reject God’s Love;
for God, according to the hymn, loves me without one plea.
Now, finally, I see that if, when I hear, heed God’s Word of Love,
then and only then can the Apostle’s words become my own:
“Wretched man that I am!”
And then and only then can I respond with love to God.
And then and only then real relationship with God
and with you
and with me
for I am unmasked.
© 2020 PRA