Posted by: deerharas | November 14, 2007

A Beautiful Mask

Evidently I like to make up words.  Last week I was meeting with a group of people, and I mentioned how I sometimes feel fake when talking to international students.  However, I didn’t use the word “fake”; I said “disingenuine.” I soon corrected myself (after being called out on it J) and explained that I meant “disingenuous.”  My point in sharing this somewhat boring anecdote is to say that in my position relating to students on a daily basis (international or American) I sometimes have to play the part. I’m an introvert living an extroverted life.  And while most days I love smiling and greeting every person I see, there are days that it doesn’t come naturally.

 

Like anyone else I suppose, occasionally I’ll run across someone I find especially difficult to relate to.  In such cases I often overcompensate for my lack of interest in or affection toward them, which is when the disingenuousness (Is that a word??) really rears its ugly head.  I used to see my only two options as: 1. acting fake or 2. acting rude.  Recently, however I remembered a lovely story C.S. Lewis recounts in Mere Christianity about true inner transformation.  “The … story is about someone who had to wear a mask; a mask which made him look much nicer than he really was.  He had to wear it for years.  And when he took the mask off he found his own face had grown to fit it.  He was now really beautiful.  What had begun as a disguise had become a reality.”  Lewis goes on to explain, “there are two kinds of pretending.  There is a bad kind, where the pretense is there instead of the real thing; as when a man pretends he is going to help you instead of really helping you.  But there is also a good kind, where the pretense leads up to the real thing.  When you are not feeling particularly friendly but know you ought to be, the best thing you can do, very often, it to put on a friendly manner and behave as if you were a nicer person than you actually are.  Very often the only way to get a quality in reality is to start behaving as if you had it already.”  I am convinced (as was Lewis) that this pretending is not merely human striving, but rather God transforming us into the image of His Son.  I may begin in a pretense of love, but I am praying that God actually change me into a loving person … no longer “disingenuine.” 

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