Men With Iron Masks

Philippe: “I wear the mask. It does not wear me.” 

Through many windows, through many years, I’ve seen many faces, amongst the passersby.  I’ve sat across from many souls with different faces.  I’ve seen the same sojourner over a period of time and their faces are not always the same;

Philippe: “I’ve worn that mask so long I don’t feel safe without it.”

looking for something, someone.  Maybe not.

Maybe they are hiding from something, or someone; they are looking for a place to hide, from anyone who is looking for them.  And until they find that special place to hide, the place where they will find safety, more  control over life, peace, joy … they will keep the mask close. Some folks never remove the mask.

I’ve been called out, by good men and women, to be who I am supposed to be.  A mentor asked me if I was going to apologize to a particular woman I had a recent conflict with.  I explained that the woman had insulted me, to begin with.  My mentor, without any warning rebuked me in a manner I had never before experienced, “BE A MAN!” I never forgot those words.  He was definitely calling me out.

From the movie “Man in the Iron Mask” (from the book, authored by Alexander Dumas) Aramis called out Phillipe, who is the twin brother of King Louis IV : “We are offering you the chance to be king.”  Phillipe responded with “No, you offering me the chance to pretend to be king.”

Here is an important piece in all of this.  You may know a man …  husband, brother, father, friend … who wears a mask you may not even be aware of.  Maybe you have never seen him without the mask.  There might be trauma, there; or shame (not being the man he wants to be, or the man he thinks he should be, for example); or fear.  It would be great to live without the mask.  But, as Philippe told Athos, Porthos, and Aramus in “Man with the Iron Mask”: “I’ve worn that mask so long I don’t feel safe without it.”

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