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What Cloak are YOU Wearing?

A response to a recent Facebook post of mine caused me to pause and think. My post was about how some people make political decisions based on religion, versus who is the better person for the job. One response stated, “A lot of very bad people cloak themselves in Christianity.” This statement hit a chord in me…one that spawned a lot of deep thought.

We all give “value” to certain things in our life. And, we tend to automatically trust those who appear to match those values. They are like buckets and you either fit or you don’t. Christianity is such a bucket. Many of us feel “safe” around other Christians just because they fit into that bucket.

As my Facebook friend pointed out, it is also like a cloak…something we put on to be identify in some way. These cloaks give us value…or so we think.

There are many more cloaks other than religion, race or sexual orientation:

  • Successful

  • Good parent

  • Helper

  • Philanthropist

Even “busy” is a cloak. If I am busy, that means I’m valuable. But, what is “value” anyway? In definition, value is “the regard that something is held to deserve; the importance, worth, or usefulness of something.” Feeling valued signifies we are worth something. So, we put on our cloaks to show people we are worth something…that we fit into a specific bucket.

We define the parameters of each bucket and identify the matching cloak, so that we can easily identify who is in which bucket. This reminds me of Handmade’s Tale, a HULU series. Everyone woman has a role to play…either Wife, Martha (they do the cooking and cleaning), Handmade (surrogates) or Aunt (they control the Handmaids), each wearing a different color cloak, so that you know exactly in which bucket they belong and what is expected of them.

I’m sure you all have heard of “the wolf in sheep’s clothing,” meaning those who wear the cloak, but don’t really fit in the bucket. It’s easy to point fingers at those who not only don’t fit into the bucket but crack it…like priests molesting children. But, what about less offensive things like being Christian, but saying mean things about others or being a good mother but spanking your children. In other words, despite the cloak we put on, we may do things contrary to what is expected of someone wearing that cloak. If we do this outwardly, we are typically chastised or shunned. So, instead, we do our best to hide our indiscretion. We may even discover at some point that we no longer fit into that bucket. Yet, we continue to wear the cloak, as not to be devalued in any way.

I have certainly struggled with this in my lifetime. What buckets am I in that aren’t befitting? What buckets should ARE befitting? What will happen if I change cloaks? This has been an ongoing process of self-discovery for me and, I imagine, many human beings. But, why? Why are we so afraid to show our true colors? Could it be that, in effort to “fit in”, we have become so judgmental of who does NOT belong that we’ve also stifled our own growth? In other words, we’ve created such a tight description of the bucket that any deviation (which is likely over time) makes us no longer fit in ourselves.

I suppose the answer comes down to love versus hate. If we act hateful toward our self or others, we perpetuate the problem. However, if we react with love and forgiveness, we empower people to learn and grow as human beings.

Keep in mind that love and forgiveness does not mean you condone any actions. It just means you are freeing yourself of any angst and allowing for mistakes to become learning opportunities.

Do I think we will do away with the cloaks and buckets? No. There is usefulness in them. This is apparent in nature, as well. For example, the antelope takes no issue with the elephant, but is on high alert with the jaguar. Can we forgive the jaguar for taking down the antelope? Yes, because it was in her nature to survive. Isn’t that what we are ALL trying to do…survive? We may not agree with one another’s actions; but if we look at each as an act of survival, then perhaps we will be more forgiving.

In addition to forgiveness, I think we can also work on being more genuine with who we really are. So, I ask you, “What cloaks are YOU wearing?” Does it fit you? If not, I encourage you to seek out why you are hiding in that cloak and strive to uncover who you really are. For me, this seems an endless journey; but one that reveals many rewards along the way.

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