A Gift, a Mask, and a Bit of Grace
I love a good gift. But more than getting a gift, I love to find the perfect gift for someone I care about. I like the whole darned process. From knowing things that are important to the recipient to thinking about how those factoids and trivia could translate into a creative and special gift to setting about searching high and low for that just right something. It’s all about finding a way to bring them a touch of joy.
Do I always get it right? Nope. Am I sometimes late getting the gift in the mail? Absolutely. But what has happened 100 percent of the time is that my friend, my colleague, my family knows that I care. That I am doing my best for them. That they matter to me.
So in this time where we have lost over 100,000 of our fellow Americans in a matter of months and are forecasted to lose many more, what is the gift we could give each other? What says, “Hey, I care about you.”
Might I suggest we all wear masks.
Now here’s the thing. Are masks perfect? No. Can masks be uncomfortable to wear? Yes. Do masks help? Absolutely.
And yes, I’ve seen people posting all over social media about their different theories on why masks aren’t necessary. And our federal government has certainly not helped when it comes to providing clarity.
But here is what I would ask you. If you get seriously ill, who would you turn to for help? Doctors. They spend years in school, more years in residency, and then devote their lives to the health and well-being of the human body. COVID-19 is a virus. It attacks the human body. You see where I’m going with this, right?
The vast majority of medical professionals are practically begging us to wear a mask when we go out in public.
In a statement released on June 12, from Dr. Susan R Bailey, President of the American Medical Association, she said, “Physicians, scientists and public health experts are learning more every day about COVID-19, but we already know what stops the spread of the virus—wearing a face mask, maintaining physical distancing, and washing your hands regularly for 20 seconds. Adhering to these simple steps is the most effective way to prevent deaths and safely allow re-opening to continue.”
So if someone you respect, someone you would go to in a time of need, someone who is on the front lines and, quite frankly, needs your help, is asking you for a favor, dare I say a gift, would you listen? Would you help? Would you search out that gift?
Of course you would. That’s what being human is all about – connecting with each other. Caring for each other. Not lobbing ridiculous insults on social media or thinking that some random dude/dudette on the Internet has more science expertise than those who’ve dedicated their life to study and service. We can do better than that. I must believe that we are better than that.
So, yes, I’m wearing a mask. I won’t always get it right. It won’t be perfect. But it will be full of heart and intention and come from a place of kindness and compassion.
If you’re still wondering if it is worth wearing a mask, I’d ask you this:
What do you risk if you wear a mask and it ends up being unnecessary? A bit of discomfort on a hot day? Feeling a little silly at the grocery store? Using up some of your extra bits of fabric?
Now, what do you risk if you don’t wear a mask and it ends up being very necessary? Inadvertently spreading the virus to someone whose body can’t fight it off for any number of reasons? Costing someone else their wife, their dad, their child?
Personally, I’ll gladly sign up for the first set of risks. But that second set of risks, I’d dearly love to avoid. For me, for you, for my family and friends. Maybe I’ll be wrong, but I can live with that, especially if it helps someone else actually live, like literally keep their heart beating in this world.
So might I suggest we all give each other the gift of wearing a mask, staying six feet apart, washing our hands like it’s going out of style, and staying home when we can. It just might be the perfect gift after all. And if you’re like me, giving a gift is nearly always better than getting one.
P.S. I respect that we all have the freedom to make our individual choices. We all make oodles of choices every day to do the things that we think are right – we choose to tell the truth, we choose to love our families, we choose to go to work. Those choices say something about us. The choice to wear a mask simply says I care, I might not have all of the answers, but I want to help. It does not say if you are a republican, a democrat, or an independent. It does not say if you do or don’t believe in God. So let’s all give each other a little grace. In grade school, we all learned what assuming does. Grace and peace my friends. Grace and peace.
Featured image (mask making) © Prostock-studio – stock.adobe.com. Standard license.