Carefully Constructed Masks
Who of us can say that every one of our smiles has been without deceit? None of us have seen a life without pain, hardship, or lies. And what can we do but push on and do our best to hold on to what happiness we have managed to find. Life is hard, filled with obstacles and loss. Yet we can find some joy, and we use these moments as a lifeline to keep moving. A smile is usually the way we show our stolen moments of joy. But that is not all that we use them for.
Sometimes a smile is not an expression of inner calm, of laughter, sometimes it is a bandage to cover over deeper scars. Because the deepest bruise is the slowest to show, sometimes a smile is merely a carefully constructed mask.
The duty of the rest of us is to recognize the difference, to see past the deception to find the hurt beneath. Wounds can only be healed if found. Once discovered, balm must be applied and comfort given. And when the hurt begins to diminish and the peace begins to strengthen, then we can see the change that takes place in their eyes. This change, this turn towards improvement, is now our own source of joy and can be felt inside our very core. By healing, we ourselves are healed. Comfort can flow both ways. But someone needs to be the first to step forward, to brave that heavy silence that surrounds a wounded mind.
Our bravery is not just in pushing against our own trials, it lies also in our willingness to take on another's.