“Sincere,” the word first recorded in English in the 1530s, is from the Latin word sincerus, meaning “clean, pure, sound,” according to the Oxford English Dictionary.  Other possible uses of the word are found in 17th century France, where the story goes that some sculptors used wax as a way to save money from the more expensive metals that were typically used in the day.  A sculpture made of unadulterated metal was said to be “without wax” or sans cire in French.

Other uses of the word are found during the Renaissance, when Spanish sculptors who made mistakes while carving expensive marble often patched their flaws with cera – or “wax”.  A statue that had no flaws and required no patching was hailed as a “Sculpture Sin Cera” or a “Sculpture without wax”.

The phrase eventually came to mean anything honest or true.  Today, we tend to use the word “sincere” when referring to someone who is honest and straightforward.  Someone who comes across genuine and isn’t masked by pretense.

It’s important to understand that sincerity isn’t a virtue in and of itself.  A person can be sincerely wrong, after all.  Just because someone sincerely believes that the world is flat doesn’t mean that it is.  Just because someone sincerely believes in Martians, doesn’t mean they exist.  It’s really only when sincerity is applied to the quest to get better or improve, that it’s meaning takes on a positive spin.

Yet, here we are.  No longer in the Renaissance, but still patching our flaws with cera.  Social media has become a cesspool of insincerity, comparison and playacting.  We’ve found a way to become experts at the perfect Instagram pic, while inside our hearts long for companionship.  We’ve been able to select the perfect photo filter for our perfect thing that we want to perfectly post on our perfect page, all the while navigating an imperfect world, an imperfect marriage and a deep depression that imperfectly grips our mind and heart.  We’re to the point that we have a standard for number of Likes or Impressions we want to see on our posts, otherwise we begin to question ourselves, wondering what we did wrong…why isn’t anyone listening…does anyone really care?

And we tailspin into an abyss, and try to salve it with ‘wax’.  Hide this imperfection, put makeup over that one, act this way in front of this person…and another way in front of that one.  Surely masking our issues will make it ok.  It will make them ‘like’ me.  It will make the pain go away.

And yet…it remains.  The wax melts under immense heat, revealing the truth, shining a light on the hidden issues, exposing the fray.

What, then, shall we do?  Shall we continue a life of insincerity, hoping no one will find out, hoping the flaws remain unexposed?

In a word…No.

No, you shouldn’t stay in the shadows.

No, you shouldn’t keep fighting a private battle.

No, you shouldn’t shoulder your own burdens.

No, you shouldn’t pretend to be someone you’re not.

We were created on purpose for a purpose.  The human race, designed intentionally for connection.  Not just one human created, rather, billions.  No two alike.  Even identical twins have different fingerprints!  Each person scurrying around going about our lives, but making forward progress.  Some too busy to care, others, ready and willing to lend a hand, a shoulder to cry on, an encouraging word to give.

Life isn’t meant to be lived alone!  This past year has been tough, having to connect over a screen, or not at all…when a hug was all that was desired, a loving glance to be received, a helping hand to be grasped.  But that’s changing.  Things are reopening, and so are our hearts.  Reconnection is imminent.

Far be it from me to offer social or psychological advice on this blog.  But, gentle reader, I want you to know that I care.  And, know that there are many in my community that care.  Be sincere.  Allow the wax to melt away.  Thrive.  Do the hard work of getting better.  Seek help…speak to a friend, schedule time with a professional counselor.

You’re worth it.

You matter.

Let’s strip pretense from our lives and discover the love we have for one another.

Let’s embrace our authentic selves and serve others with glad…

and sincere hearts.