Bangkok Mask

"Everyone sees what you appear to be, few experience what you really are.”

            AQI, I had no idea what this acronym meant until two weeks ago. Jana sent me a text at school and told me I should check the Air Quality Index in Bangkok. I looked up the Air Quality Index for Bangkok and found that we were at 186 which is considered an unhealthy level for everyone. This led to emails to our administration, implementation of an outdoor activity chart based on air quality, and Jana purchasing air ventilation masks for our family.

            The first week the air did not bother me very much and I continued my regular exercise routine. But, the second week I started having headaches during the day and especially after exercising. I decided to give the mask a try, but the mask was not very convenient, and it was very cumbersome when I would run. I quickly learned that running with an air purifying mask on was extremely difficult because I could not inhale enough oxygen fast enough to keep up with the demands of my body while running. So, I was stuck. I could either inhale polluted Bangkok air while exercising, or I could try and suck in enough oxygen through my air purification mask while exercising. I decided to stay with the mask.

            We all struggle with wearing masks. Unfortunately, as Christians we have perfected the art of wearing masks while interacting with our friends, family and fellow believers. “Everything is fine. No problem. Yes, we are doing great.” We have this belief that it is more important for us to appear to have everything together instead of removing our masks and exposing our true selves. But, just like me struggling last week to run with a mask on, we find it harder to keep our masks on when life becomes difficult.  In fact, there were times that I felt like the mask was suffocating me when I was exercising. Why do we wait until life is unbearable before we remove our masks and seek help? We all have faults that we want to cover up, but instead of seeking support we decide to conceal our imperfections. He who conceals his transgressions will not prosper, but he who confesses and forsakes them will find compassion. The masks we are wearing are not only hampering our own spiritual growth, but the masks are also robbing us of helping others in similar situations. This week consider removing some masks from your life.  Seek healing through sharing and supporting one another instead of being concerned about what you might reveal. When we come before God without our masks; true healing begins.