I know what it feels like to believe you are the only one going through this pain or that particular agony. Or, more accurately, that you are the only one who handles it so poorly. We have front-row seats to our own depravity and nosebleed seats to other people’s. We don’t see the same blemishes, wounds, scars, and abnormal gait in others that we see in ourselves, but that is only because it’s easier to see the mask other people wear. We don’t mean to wear masks; we are just afraid that if we take them off, we will be the only one who looks like the Phantom of the Opera.

While these masks might protect us from judgment and criticism, they can also reinforce feelings of loneliness and alienation as they prevent authentic connections. It is in embracing vulnerability and sharing our true selves that we often find we are not alone in our struggles, and that others, too, have their wounds and scars. The realization that others also have their ‘Phantom of the Opera’ moments can be profoundly comforting and can foster deeper, more genuine relationships.

My sister felt this loneliness, and the intensity drove her to her death. If only I had been able to remove my mask back then. I caused her to feel alone in a crowded room.

C Michael Patton
C Michael Patton

C. Michael Patton is the primary contributor to the Parchment and Pen/Credo Blog. He has been in ministry for nearly twenty years as a pastor, author, speaker, and blogger. Find him on Patreon Th.M. Dallas Theological Seminary (2001), president of Credo House Ministries and Credo Courses, author of Now that I'm a Christian (Crossway, 2014) Increase My Faith (Credo House, 2011), and The Theology Program (Reclaiming the Mind Ministries, 2001-2006), host of Theology Unplugged, and primary blogger here at Parchment and Pen. But, most importantly, husband to a beautiful wife and father to four awesome children. Michael is available for speaking engagements. Join his Patreon and support his ministry

    1 Response to "The Masks We Wear: The Tragedy of Feeling Alone in a Crowded Room"

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.