I had lunch with a Facebook friend today. We had never met before; not face-to-face, at least. In fact, we've only been "friends" for a short time - maybe six or seven months. But as it happens, on Facebook and other brands of social media, we have struck up - if not a friendship per se, then at least a conversation. One that is interesting enough to open the door, just a crack, for me to leave the comfort of my hiding place, the one that lays just in front of my computer, where I can exist as thought, as pixels and ether , armed with a huge monitor for my battered eyes and a heavily-used delete key for my battering wit and my battered heart.
I do a lot of hiding. I wear too many masks.
I hide behind my computer; I hide behind my words. I hide my heart because it's been broken and bruised once too often. I hide my desires; I hide my fears. I wear a mask of cynicism and take refuge in sarcasm. I can lose myself in self-righteousness just as easily in my self-doubt and self-deprecation. I hide in study and hide behind God.
Mind you, these hiding places are not oases of lies to dole out with capricious grace. I am honest. To a point. I am also quite guarded. I don't dole out truth; I dole out bits and pieces of me. At the first hint of danger, I retreat behind my invisible, unscalable walls, and I take out my masks - the Intellect; the Mom; the Writer; the Hell Raiser; the Snarky One; the Human. Oh, yes; the Human is a mask, too, a perfect disguise when I feel lost and clueless and outside of and less than.
All these masks. All these hiding places. All me, in bits and pieces.
And if I know a thing or two, I know that so many of us feel this need to hide. We hide our need and our doubt and our fear. We hide our faith. Our sexuality. Our talent. Our intelligence. We hide our love. We hide our anger. We put up walls to hide our selves - our heart and our spirit. We hide all the damaged bits, the hurts and the pain.
What we forget - what I forget - what is hidden cannot be healed or be whole. If I can only give bits and pieces, that is all I will ever be. I will always be incomplete. Perhaps that is the lesson of the Afikomen - the broken piece of matzoh that gets hidden and then found. Our seder is incomplete until the Afikomen is found and returned.
Perhaps this year, I will find all those broken pieces and bring them out of hiding. Perhaps I will have courage enough to find healing and wholeness, with no need to hide.
Once we were slaves, now we are free.