Have you ever met a morning person with that “face”, who derives more joy from the fact that you’re not a morning person than they do from the fact that they are? You know the type, they don’t have to be cheery and happy in the mornings, but just for your sake, (just to annoy you it seems), they are unprecedentedly perky: like a kettle of boiling water on a stove. I know it’s a dated reference, but you’ve watched the old movies; when the water boils in a kettle it perks: that is, the steam forces its way out of the spout with a high-pitched, incessant squeal. The purpose is to alert you that the water is ready, but the longer the kettle goes unrecognized and unheeded, the louder, higher, and more obnoxious the perking becomes.
And so it is with some morning people. At least by appearances, their joy and exuberance for certain hours of the day is specifically aimed to upset and annoy those whom I call The Mourning Morning People, (formally known as grouches). If you couldn’t tell, I’m not a morning person. Thus, my response to the smiley, perky, exuberant face of a sunrise connoisseur is a simple question: “Is that really your face?”. Partly because I am bewildered at their evident excitement over loss of sleep–due to my concept that regardless of when I go to sleep, anything before 10am is an ungodly hour– and in part because their pleasure seems to be drawn from my lack of it.
In a very real way, I think morning people are fake. They don’t exist. No human wants to get up early; not really. Some have trained themselves to do it, some are more apt to do so, and some even begin to suffer the delusions that they enjoy such. All morning people wear masks, the masks of togetherness. Humans are selfish, and the things we covet are sleep, personal time, (though not at the expense of sleep), and solace, (traditionally found in sleep).
So, to every morning person reading this… in the morning: “Is that really your face?”
Hopping Off The Morning Person Train:
Okay, so all of that might sound offensive at first glance, but it’s an honest question. Everyone has a set of faces, masks they wear to disguise themselves: to assume an appearance of togetherness. You play different roles in your life; just as Paul says he became all things to all people, you are different things to different people.
You are an employee to your boss, a friend to your crew, a neighbor to your community, a sibling and child to your family, and the real you is hiding somewhere behind all the others. Those different roles you play are different faces you wear, not necessarily different parts of who you are. Like an actor who changes their appearance to fit a role and appeal to a certain audience, you change how you appear to relate to your surroundings.
So, when I ask, “Is that your face?”, I’m really asking, “Which you am I seeing?”. Is this who you really are? We make it difficult for people to know us when they never actually see who we are behind the masks.
All of us put on faces for the rest of the world so that they think we’ve got it all together. We can even manipulate the responses we get from others by the emotions we show visibly. But, regardless of who we can fool, we can never fool ourselves and we can never fool God. Whereas Man looks on the outward appearance, in that way he is weak: for he cannot see beyond the outward appearance. “Beauty is only skin deep”, “Judge a book by its cover”, “Taken at face value”, where do you think those phrases came from?
Your Face Doesn’t Fool You:
You can never truly fool yourself. Why do you want to hide behind a mask and put on a fake face anyway? Sometimes it’s because you’re embarrassed of the real you, or you’re afraid of what people would think. After all, we’ve worn our faces for a while; would anyone actually believe we were pretending all the time?
You may have a “Christian” face, you said a prayer, you were baptized, your church and your family think you know Christ as your Savior; and you let them think that by wearing your “Christian” face, but you know the truth. Maybe you never really understood what salvation meant; perhaps you were just confused and scared; or you walked an aisle because everyone else was doing it. Whatever the reason, you wear a face to hide the real you: afraid of what people might think and say.
You may not like someone. You’re harboring hate and malice over something that happened a long time ago, or maybe it’s just how they look and act. Something about them bugs you, but you don’t let on. You wear your pleasant face, the one that makes you look like the guy/gal who’s got it all. But you know the truth. You wear your face because you have problems in your family, in your marriage, in you work, home, health. Maybe you’re jealous of that other person’s “perfect” life, at least as far as you can tell. You wear your face to hide the real you, the one that’s hurting and scared.
Maybe you’ve really messed up your life. You don’t have a steady job or even and honorable one. You do what you can to survive. That relationship wasn’t what you thought it would be, there’s no escape in drugs or in parties. But you wear your proud face, the one that tells people, “I don’t need your help”; not because it’s true, but because you’re too ashamed of your sin to let anyone help. You’re too proud to admit you need help.
People hide who they are for many reasons. Insecurity, pride, shame, fear. We don’t like admitting weaknesses and flaws, but we all have problems. “Is that your face?” is not an insult, it’s me asking honestly, because I care about you, “is this the real you? What are you really up against? How can I help you?”. As Christian brothers and sisters we should be paying enough attention to those around us that we realize when something is wrong.
Morning people: I’m not mad at you, be who you are. Just be sure that who you think you are isn’t just another face. Don’t be anything for anyone else: be you for the glory of God. Stop hiding behind a false sense of humility, it’s nothing more than insincere pride.
As always, thanks for reading.
—the anonymous novelist