Toward the end of October we had a very busy couple of weeks. Work at home followed by work on the house in Horn Lake followed by our trip to the annual meeting of the Arkansas Baptist State Convention. Not only were the weeks busy, they were downright exhausting!
The days were full, but even more difficult than that were the nights. They were all far too short. I need my sleep. I have discovered that I truly can survive with less than eight hours of sleep each night, but only if I consistently get at least seven hours and have a fairly predictable schedule. If bedtime and wake-up time vary greatly and if I don’t consistently get those seven hours of sleep (not just seven hours in bed), I get further and further behind.
That is exactly what happened in those two weeks. Our schedule was wild and unpredictable. No matter how hard we tried, we couldn’t preserve a consistent bedtime nor a consistent amount of sleep at night. Add that to the incredibly high-paced and busy days, and I was exhausted!
At the end of the two weeks we crashed. We spent several days trying to catch up on sleep, and then we started trying to get our bodies back into some semblance of a routine. One morning during the recuperation phase, I had just gotten out of the shower and was standing in front of the bathroom mirror brushing my hair. As I glanced at my reflection I was appalled at the appearance of my eyes. I had never seen bags, circles, and puffiness under my eyes quite like I saw that morning. I looked horrible!
I’m not sure if it was a Sunday morning or if we just needed to go somewhere that day, but I know I was getting ready to leave the house. I knew it was going to take quite the makeup job to tame the dark puffiness under my eyes, so I got to work. When all was said and done, I had managed to improve “the look” a little bit. But, then I added the final touch – my glasses. Voila! Nicely covered and hidden!
The reality of what I had accomplished began to sink in as I noticed what my glasses hid. Were I to have left them off, observant friends would have known my exhaustion at a glance. But, with them on, I was able to look fresh and ready for the day.
Now the truth is that my friends knew I was tired. They knew what the previous two weeks had been like, and they sympathized with my exhaustion. But the whole incident made me wonder how many other things we hide from each other. Things that we should never hide.
Just like wearing make-up, there are many tools that are culturally acceptable to use to hide our sorrows and joys, our struggles and successes. Essentially, culture leads us to believe that it is a good thing to hide our true selves from one another and show only selected portions of who we are. It ought not be!
Now, obviously I’m not declaring the evils of make-up. (What kind of Mary Kay consultant would I be if I were to do such a thing?) And obviously I’m not saying that putting on my glasses was wrong. It would be a bit hard to see without them, and my peristent issue with dry eyes has kept me from returning to contacts.
What I am saying is that as we cover up our physical imperfections with make-up or glasses, we should use that as a reminder that we need to, in turn, make sure to uncover our struggles, our successes, our hurts, and our joys. We should look for ways to intentionally be more real with one another. And, we should be alert as we watch each other to look for those tell-tale signs of cover-up in our fellow believers. It just might be that the very person trying to hide those puffy eyes just might need our help finding a little extra rest.