One of the reasons I loved those rides so much was how close it put me to the people around me. We were literally inches from each other - sometimes with dozens of people all maneuvering for the same position in traffic. I was never afraid in all that crazy traffic. We had the most amazing tuk tuk drivers ever! And as you rode along, you could see the faces of those around you. Really see them. And you could smile at each other. I loved it! Imagine - sharing smiles with hundreds of people as you rode along!
Then, one day we were taking a much longer ride - all the way out to the killing fields. (That trip will have to be a blog all by itself...for now this is about the ride.) The missionaries we were with gave us all masks - those kind you see on doctors - so that we could ride without breathing in all the dust and fumes we would encounter on that trip.
I was willing, but the flesh was weak! Those masks were so hot! But that wasn't the real problem. As we rode along in our tuk tuk, I started to notice that no one was smiling at me anymore. Then I realized WHY! I was smiling, but they couldn't see it! They had no idea I was willing to make that momentary connection because my smile was hidden behind the mask.
It didn't take long and I took that darn mask down! It was meant to keep bad things out, but it also kept the good things out too. It kept me from sharing the only thing I really had that I could share with these people...a smile. (This is a picture of my friend, Dixi, who seemed to have as much trouble with that mask as I did!)
Masks. I wonder how often we wear these masks in our daily lives. Ours aren't the obvious ones like the surgery masks; ours are masks of pretend...pretending we are someone we really aren't. They work really well, but while they keep others from seeing our flaws, it also keeps the good parts hidden as well. Oh, and it keeps us from receiving the "good stuff" that they would share as well.
I don't want to live life that way - hidden. I want to live life transparently, sharing the smiles. That means I will be "vulnerable" - something I don't really like to be. People may see me without my "mask" - but the trade-off will be worth it.
For just a moment, we will get to share a smile. We might even get to share our lives.