dang, he's cute. he is certainly very expressive, and as i was taking these shots and then working on this composite of some of them, i was reminded of how many facades we all have. i, for one, have a face for every occasion. in any situation, there is a part of me that is willing to gauge my surroundings and help me determine which face is appropriate for the moment. this whole process can occur in nanoseconds, and, without even consciously thinking about it, i become: "greg milinovich, master of disguise."
before you judge me, consider your own self. i have a hunch that you do this, too. it's part of being human, i think. it's a kind of guardedness that we think is protecting us from getting hurt. we imagine somehow that if we can control the self that we project with our faces and our words, we will be able to control what it feels like underneath (of course this is pure rubbish, but we go on this way, don't we?). if you say something to me in jest, but it hurts me in a place that i can't even really put my finger on, my 'master of disguise' instincts will kick in and i will probably laugh along with you, and give you my best self-deprecating smile, but what is happening in the places that can't be seen? and what have i said about myself in this act of face-painting?
in the end, we long to be seen as we really are. we long to be looked at; our true faces beheld, and, in tenderness, loved. we pray with the psalmist, "turn your face to me, o Lord," and while we may yet keep our own aimed at the ground, God calls us to lift up our heads. for God is a God who embraces; who creates; who calls the creation "very good," who loves us relentlessly, even without our face paint on. i have found that the challenge for me is to accept a love like that, because to whatever extent i'm able to do that, i am then able to face the world with less pretense and with more genuine expression, with less fear and more security in who i am as God's beloved. if i can let myself be loved, then i am able to face forward with hope and authentic emotion, not hiding in fear of what you or God might think. when i let myself be loved, i can just be me, "greg milinovich, master of messes, child of incredible grace, and loved beyond imagination." and when i am that guy - when i am who i was created to be - i am most fully alive, even abundantly so.