Our smiles mask the pain we artfully cover up, thinking that positive imagery will best show God’s joy and love.

That false truth that being the ever-happy good Christian requires us to always smile, always spread cheer, and never let them see us sweat.

In our humanness we stumble about our daily lives, careful to reveal only the best parts of ourselves, seeking those nods of approval, those “likes” and “follows” and invitations to events where we play our assigned quietly-compliant part among gathered guests.

As we drift past each other we offer the smile and nod and those placated greetings, “I’m fine. And you?”

Our lines are well memorized for they have been rehearsed in true zombie fashion.

Grunt and nod.

The nod reveals our capitulation to alikeness and our willingness to remain hidden behind the nod. Rightly keeping those ugly realities that weigh us down with pain nicely hidden behind the gently upturned chin.

The puppet show is in full swing, play your part.

Go along, hide the sorrow, the ache, the desire to connect on a deeper level.

In actuality the meaningless nod carries more meaning than we really want to admit.

Conform.

Repeat.

Conform.

Or not.

Have you ever just wanted to rip the world off of its axis and, in one of those “oh so proper” placating moments, write a new script?

And scream?

In your mind’s eye, have you imagined it?

Yeah, me too.

Throw caution, and conformity to the wind, break the expected mood of solace, look someone in the eye and say, “I am hurting and I need help.”

That is authenticity.

That is where “love thy neighbor” has the capacity to spring to action and the zombie finds life … life giving, life sharing, life on life, life!

Do you dare?

Go ahead … scream!

Challenge: Are you aching for true, authentic relationship? Might it be you that needs to make the first move towards your Christian brothers and sisters? Go ahead, break the mold and create authenticity where you gather.