She kneels before the chest, nostalgic.
She knows it is time – time to let go – and yet, she is acutely aware of what she is releasing and what it means moving forward.
She opens the chest and is overcome by the memories that come flooding in, so ingrained with the scent of cedar.
By her side, lays a pile. The pile extends up to her waist while kneeling.
She grabs the item on top of the pile.
Her favorite mask.
The Mask of Performance.
Oh, how many times this mask was comfortably attached to her profile! In fact, this particular mask was almost like a second skin, she has worn it so often.
She remembers wearing this mask to many an occasion.
She adorned this mask for just about every work-related function, but it certainly was not limited to such. In fact, she even found that this mask was often interchangeable at religious functions with her Mask of Holiness. It seems fitting that the Mask of Holiness is directly under the Mask of Performance. She lays them next to each other at the bottom of the chest.
She continues to take each mask – one by one – reminiscing about the purpose it served. Some of the masks are so tattered and frayed from use after use, whereas others almost look like new, needed solely for one or two occasions in her life.
Mask of the Building of Walls
Mask of the Learned
Mask of the Perfect Mother
Mask of Sarcasm
Mask of Indifference
and on and on it goes.
For, you see, these masks have served her well. There have been times in her life when these masks were dearly needed in order for her to merely get through the day.
It is only now, at the end of her life, that she is ready to release them all so that she might stand before her Maker merely and profoundly as He created her to be.
As she gets down to the end of the pile, she comes to a few masks which have a different design. These particular masks do not cover her entire face, but instead merely cover the upper portion around the eyes.
The reason for this is that these particular masks are only half of the story. For example, she looks lovingly at her Mask of Altruism. As she holds this mask in her hands, she notices that the edges are more crisp, less tattered. These masks represent a part of a characteristic that belongs to her True Self, and the masks were adorned only when she allowed her insecurities to get the better of her. On many other occasions, she has been able to fully celebrate her altruism as an integral part of the gifts her Maker has bestowed on her.
As the last of the masks are lovingly and carefully placed within the hope chest, she says a prayer of thankfulness.
And the heavy lid of the hope chest is closed, the key turned and locked.
As she feebly comes to a stand, breathing harder from the exertion than she would like to admit, she sighs deeply.
She is acutely aware of her being – it feels rather raw and vulnerable, and yet so freeing and light! Oh, had she known what it would feel like to be free of the masks!
It is time.