Lined eyes, now brighter, looks happier. That’s what she thought they should see. What stared back in the mirror. Smoothed flesh, blurring the lines and freckles of age and circumstance. All one shade now, bronzed over with a splash of sunshine from a bottle. Beautiful, they must think. Stained lips, rosy and fresh. Glossy with life, shining on the surface.
Wet paint on her face, who was that? While it dried, while it settled, while her eyes adjusted to the facade that she normally shared with everyone else. It wasn’t a lie, not really. Enhancement, proper highlighting, exposure and tint realigned. The face of contentment and well-being. Relaxed and calm, well-rested. Presented by Maybelline.
Capturing her reflection, in her mind, propelling the confidence to walk outside.
It was easy to go to a place where everyone wore their makeup. Properly dressed. Veiled in summer prints and designer boots. Where they all knew the rules. Proper decorum, polite smiles. Soft greetings, limp handshakes, curated laughs, genuine conversations concerning the weather. She felt safely alone here. In the daily museum.
But every once in a while, it would rain. Thunder, blow and pour. They scatter for cover, escaping the meltdown. Left in the downpour, who knows what would happen. Who would remain. What would they learn. Scared to see and be seen, of course she runs away. Every time it starts to drizzle.
Except once, she lingered. Boldly walking through the rain, for a little too long. Just not afraid anymore. For a moment. Feeling the warm wet droppings bathing her forehead. Soaking her hair. Sopping dissolving all the colors. Until it touched a naked cheek. And she wasn’t afraid. For a moment.
Stormy shadows gave way. To another one. Who didn’t run away. In the rain. She wasn’t alone. Recognizing and being recognized. In the tragedy of exposure. In the depravity of one being washed away. They caught a glance of each other’s struggle. That was the same struggle. And there was no place to hide. From each other. In the rain.
Surprised. By accident. By chance. By design. Where she didn’t know what would happen. What would remain. What would she learn. When she sees and is seen. Surprised. That she wasn’t afraid. For the moment.
She recognized her disobedience in another. And by this she was also recognized. There was no high and mighty judgments. There was no haughty shame. Exposed and recognized, there, a friendship begins. There, a greater reality connects those who have seen.
There, no one is righteous, not even one. And God has bound everyone to disobedience, so that He may have mercy on us all.
But tomorrow, they will return to their makeup and tightly buttoned dress shirts. They have to. The undressed truth is too ugly to face in the mirror. Day after day. But those who have been caught in the storm, they saw their own fragile game. Pain and tears unexpectedly washed away the lies. And if they were lucky enough, there, they might have met someone else.
Washed empty, together.
Recognized and bound.
Where God has mercy on us all.