Ok. I am about to burst. I just have to do this.

It’s tough to venture to in this current situation, but (deep breath) let me just out with it:

I. Hate. Masks!!!

Ahhh. That is better. Not unlike when you get home from being out in polite society and (carefully) yank off said mask. 😏

Oh, let me reassure you, I am not saying this to be a political activist or a fist-shaking rebel.

Longtime readers know I am not your typical fan-the-political-flames or rebellious sort.

No knee-jerk offerings here. πŸ™‚

For, where I will most unapologetically say as a Christian, I don’t think we should be wallowing in panic, I neither presume to know best on this or just how to sort through the maze of confusing information, conspiracy theory du jours, and what have you.

Because, doggone it, Jim, to flip what Bones always said:

I am a mom. Not a doctor.😏

And, yet, being a mom-a mom of special needs as well as one with her own neurological and physical differences, I just can’t help it.

I hate masks.

For what they do to my children and I physically.

Emotionally.

Socially.

Oh, yes, I know we ought to be above it all for others’ sake.

Kids are resilient (And, in many ways, they actually are. This is not news to me!).

You get “used” to it. They’ll get “used” to it.

It’s for the good of our fellow man.

If you struggle that much, just shut yourself in your home 24/7.

I have heard it all.

Yet, it’s not so simple for some of us and I wish others would acknowledge this without talking it down.

You see, it’s been a rather painful period in our little community.

We are at a dismayingly cold war over this issue.

Between balancing caution and compassion as school begins again.

Frankly, there are no easy choices. I get that.

Firstly, I know this point without a doubt:

Online education cannot replicate everything.

My kids did all right in the spring, praise God, but we all know there are things they love and thrive on that I just cannot provide o solo mio.

Yet, we mustn’t be careless in the process of reopening. I do believe in Godly wisdom. We can’t be wily-nily on this and expect good results.

And, yet…we are all becoming so sharply opinionated around here, we are forgetting what our small town has always shared.

Namely, friendship. Or so I thought from my admittedly, nearly perpetually, introverted distance. πŸ˜”

But, then, maybe, this highlighted to me what is disconcerting to realize is still true- that I really don’t get that word, “friend”.

For, what is a “friend”, really?

I use the term often here and I want to be clear-I genuinely mean it in referring to each of you I interact with.

You are each very dear to me. I have felt your fellowship on an authentically personal level.

Yet, I fear to broach the question, but feel I must for the sake of my honesty-is it easier for me to do here because it’s not in person?

Hmmm…

Probably, to be frank.

The written word is my forte.

In person, I am a gangly-mouthed mess (Add a mask and, boy, howdy!).

Shoot, even the phone is not much better.

I have to practice basic conversation.

Seriously.

It’s rather embarrassing, folks. πŸ™„

Anyway, moving on…

A further thought on this-

We sometimes sing at church, “What a friend we have in Jesus…”.

And I love and believe and embrace that fact in Him.

No doubt there.

And, yet, there is a persistent lack of truly knowing that word “friend” well in my heart or life experience.

So much so that I don’t know that I really know sometimes what it even feels like-in person, anyway.

Whenever everybody was pairing off on the grade school playground, I was off in a corner, gathering sticks or wandering the perimeter, eyes downcast, affecting an unconcern that I most definitely did not feel.

For, those eyes were fixed down out of abject fear.

Fear they’d collide with another’s.

Fear they’d see into my soul.

Fear the pain of that and the sure judgment to follow was just more than I could bear.

I could sometimes bear a swift glance in the vicinity, though it was more likely to be a nose or mouth I was comfortable fixing on.

Especially the mouth. For, there I could at least discern frown or smirk or smile.

I wasn’t always sure if what I saw was genuine, but it was easier to interpret for the most part.

And, now, all these decades, two marriages, four kids, a career, autism acknowledgement and, most importantly a life decision for Christ later, I am still so often that little girl on the perimeter.

Even here in everybody-knows-everybodyville.

Oh, I have found my ways and my niches, facilitated my kids in the same.

Yet, my longing remains both to be a part and yet to steal away.

Of the aching to trust and the anxiety of whether I really can.

So…needless to say, in this current climate of bickering over social distance and masks everywhere you go, I am experiencing a lot of inner turmoil.

There are those whose faces my kids and I cannot read.

Literally.

I love the clear masks and pray more and more have access to them. They are great for more than just those who lip read.

In fact, as soon as I discovered them, I got onboard and bought some.

But, even that boils down largely to choice. And most are still choosing coverings that conceal the vast majority of their face.

The best we can do with most is a fleeting look into the eyes.

And what we see there is often the disapproving and the fearful if my kids or I happen to be having a hard day with the enforced coverings, compliant though we are trying to be.

Then, there are those whose faces are uncovered save their bright red spots of anger that any would be attempting a mask at all.

And neither is good.

Both strive to seem holy.

One the pious do-gooder.

The other filled with “righteous” indignation.

Yet, neither truly trying to understand the other.

Or, for many, remember they are supposed to be family in Christ.

It’s disheartening, always feeling caught in between.

Wanting to see peace between opposing forces.

To do right somehow by all simultaneously.

And still kindly advocate for my dear ones and myself in the process.

Hoping somewhere out there is a friend in the midst of this mess, knowing we mean well, yet also acknowledging what we are daily up against is much more multifaceted than the mere fight against a virus.

I further hope we can unmask kindness, be it in their eyes or the whole face. πŸ™‚

I have no answers here save the knowledge that even if I still struggle at times with the concept of friendship, what a friend we have in Jesus.

And I know He is the friend that is always here to help us bear it all…

Thank you for reading, you whom I also feel I can always call friends! I love and appreciate each of you. So much I know I can request your prayers as I extend my own to you. These are challenging days and I know we are going to need much strength. Blessings to each of you! ❀

27 thoughts on “Unmasking Kindness

  1. Thanks for sharing this Marisa. Going outside can be stressful with all of this. Over here in Perth we do not have to wear masks now because cases are under control but we know that things can flare up ( like they have done in other states in Australia) and very well go back to a stage where wearing a hazmat suit is the norm.
    I pray that you and your kids are safe as they head back to school soon.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. I had a dream recently of a little kid standing in the corner. looking SO forlorn. I went up to him, got down on one knee, and asked “What’s wrong, sweetie?” As the tears spilled over, he cried, “I haven’t had a hug today!” I hugged him and didn’t let go for a long time – hoping to hug all the sadness away.
    When I was taking a class in dream interpretation, the counselor who was teaching it said when we dream of a child, pay close attention to what that child tells us, because that child is US. I’m thinking God was telling me I was more lonely than I thought, and giving me a good, long hug, even if it was only in a dream.

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Oh, wow. That is quite a dream. Really tears at my heart! I can’t bear to see a child hurting. A large part of that comes of that extra sensitivity inside. I have had a few dreams over the years I knew was God speaking to me. The Lord does have His ways of reaching out to us. Thank you for sharing that. It reminds me His comfort is always there. ❀

      Liked by 2 people

  3. Hi Marisa, I am sad. I guess I have missed many of your posts. I will be sure to follow by email so I don’t need to be here in WordPress to read them. Masks can be divisive, as well as many other social issues the devil is using to tear us away from Jesus. Our youngest is praying for school to reopen sooner than later. Our guys did ok last Spring too, but it is NOT their preference to do school online. For that I am thankful. Too much of our lives is online. I pray now that you and your children will receive peace as school begins, trusting in Him to never lead us astray. Love in Christ, Julie

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Hi, Julie! I understand. I have missed posts as well. My time to be on WordPress really depends on the day. Yep. You nailed it. The devil is working overtime to divide us and keep us away from our only true source of comfort-Jesus. I am glad to find others who understand. Appreciate the prayers. Sending some back to you and yours. ❀

      Liked by 1 person

  4. As you have so eloquently written, there are no easy answers here.

    My daughter has severe asthma, so COVID could kill her. That’s all I’m going to write about that.

    This multifaceted tragedy has touched all seven billion of us. My pastor said that there is not one of us who has not suffered from the arrival of COVID-19.

    Some people have called it a false conspiracy theory, and others pretend like it’s going to kill the whole world. Neither thought is true. It’s a real virus that has taken lives – many lives. The majority of those who contract it recover from it.

    As Christians we are not afraid of death, or at least I’m not. I am not suicidal either, and because I love my daughter more than life itself I take precautions to protect her from all harm.

    This pandemic in the evangelical world has exaggerated sin in our lives. Sin seems to have gotten worse as some people use this pandemic to advance their political agenda and theological agenda. That is beyond sad. It’s without excuse, and those of us who have used it as reason to be evil to others need to repent now. Will we be evil to someone tomorrow morning? You bet we will because we do not do what we want to do. We need grace to empower us to say no to ungodliness even when others do wrong to us. That is so easy for me to write, and there’s no way I can do that. It’s Christ in me that will do that for me and others.

    Julie, this post is real and raw, and I for one am thankful for your courage to write it. May the Father, Son and Spirit give us the courage to do what is right. We will fail, but Christ’s death on the cross, the resurrection and the sending of the Holy Spirit is no match for human sin. “He came from heaven to earth to show the way. From the earth to the cross our debt to pay. From the cross to the grave. From the grave to the sky. LORD I lift your name on high.”

    He is not finished, and if it’s a virus to get our attention then he’s got it.

    I love you all deeply.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thank you for such a heartfelt and well said comment, my friend. So true. We are all affected by this and the divisiveness we are seeing breaks my heart. I appreciate your thoughts greatly here and join you in praying for God given courage to do what is right. Blessings to you!

      Liked by 1 person

  5. It reminds me of the rubber or plastic Halloween masks we wore as kids. My face would be sweating and smothering. My beard folds up, too. Arg. I find when in public, I don’t say anything to strangers anymore. No need to smile at people anymore. Jeepers. The face of Moses glowed so much after spending over a month with God on the mountain that the people wanted him to wear a veil (mask) to hid his face until the glow faded. Hummmmm. There’s something to learn from that. Good, honest post. Love it. God’s grip – Alan

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Oh, my, yes! Those Halloween masks were miserable! That’s a good point on the smiles. As a former daycare teacher, my instinct has always been to smile at the little ones, a group I could always push beyond my shyness to reach out to. Now, it’s rather moot. I had not thought about Moses and the veil thing! Very interesting! Hmmm… Thanks for reading and sharing your thoughts, Alan! Blessings!

      Liked by 1 person

  6. I hate masks as well. I can so relate to so much of what you’ve said about friendship. It’s a lot easier to connect online. Much more difficult to do it face to face. Those masks come off so much easier behind a keyboard. Thankfully it’s so much easier to be a friend of Jesus. It helps when you know how merciful and kind and gentle someone will be with you. It’s definitely easier to open up that way. A good reminder to walk as Jesus walked. Thanks for sharing your thoughts, Marisa. Very thought provoking. ☺ Blessing my friend. ❀

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thanks for reading, Tina! I appreciate your understanding and value our connection a great deal. Yes, indeed, Jesus is our forever friend who will never fail us. His mercy and gentleness have been an immeasurable help to me. I am glad you have experienced this, too Blessings to you as well, dear friend. 😊❀

      Liked by 1 person

  7. I appreciate your candor, Marisa. I can so relate to your post. I’m much older than you, but I could see myself in quite a few topics you brought up. God bless.❀

    Liked by 1 person

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