The Accidental Pharisee

Tuesday, August 12, 2008

Family Heirlooms



Got any family heirlooms around your house?
Treasured items passed down from one generation to the next?
I do.
But I'm not talking about a crystal vase or an antique ring.
I'm thinking of intangible but oh-so-real family heirlooms that we can't see--but we hold on to them year after year, decade after decade.
Like masks.
I don't remember my parents handing me a mask while I was growing up. But somewhere along the way, I learned to wear one. I got pretty comfortable with covering up my real emotions with a mask of "preferred" emotions as I tried to live up to others' expectations. I got pretty good at pretending to be someone I wasn't--trying to be someone I wished I was.
I didn't realize it, but in my family I participated in a masquerade ball.
I don't think family is meant to be a costumed affair. Do you?
I've spent a lot of years untying the strings of the mask I wore. Getting used to being seen without my mask. During the first year I dealt with the truth of my sexual abuse, I actually felt like I had a mask half on, half off my face.
How appropriate.
I've decided that I don't want to pass that family heirloom--masks of any kind--down to my children. I can think of other things I'd rather they treasure. Like one another.

Just Thinking Out Loud: For where my heart is, there will my treasure be also . . . that's what Scripture tells me. Sometimes you have to decide that what you've treasured needs to be trashed. Literally. I need to take a close look at what I've got stashed in my pile of "family keepsakes"--and decide if it's truly valuable or just something I've been told I've got to hold onto.

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