I was talking to a friend of mine the other day about things we talk about all the time, and out of the blue she started to get emotional. She literally started to cry. All the while she was crying, she was apologizing for it. “I am so sorry. I don’t know why I am so emotional right now.”
I wanted to reach out and hug her, but because of the corona virus, I was unable to do so. Instead, I expressed my empathy by letting her know that I completely understand. Which I do. I think most of us are on the brink of emotional exhaustion and some of us are beginning to crack. I know I am.
I don’t even know where to begin or how to express what is going on. All I know is that my feelings are raw and on the surface. I only share this so others know that they are not alone. We are facing some of the most challenging times of our lives and, maybe because we have to wear a mask everywhere or because of social distancing, we are losing connection to each other.
Since the virus came along I rarely go anywhere. I am living a very structured, boring life. Only going to work and home with the occasional visit to the grocery store, I always wear a mask. In fact, I am one of those silly people that still smiles at everyone under my mask as if you can see it. Gosh, I really miss seeing people’s faces.
For a social person like myself who enjoys seeing smiles, wearing a mask is torture. I feel so disconnected from everyone. I actually see myself getting frustrated and even angry that not only do we have to socially distance, but seeing a smile at the grocery store is something of the past. I really miss the warmth a genuine smile brings to my heart.
Don’t get me wrong. I wear a mask and I believe we all should, but that does not mean I have to like it. It is my love of people that makes me both hate wearing a mask, yet simultaneously wear one. You see, my love of people and concern for their safety is far more important to me than the disdain I have for masks. Therefore, I wear one. I wear one for you and the safety of all of us.
In a true “life is mysterious” moment, I was taking a break from writing, stopping at the paragraph above, when completely out of left field someone I care about thanked me for loving them. As she looked at me her eyes welled up with tears. Where is this coming from, I asked? I don’t need to be thanked for caring about you and proceeded to tell her how great I thought she was. I also shared with her the “coincidence” of her randomly getting emotional when I was writing about the fact that everyone seems to be very sensitive right now.
I told her I thought it had to do with people feeling isolated and having to wear a mask all the time. Just then, and I kid you not, another friend walked up to us and handed us masks he had made just for us that had a clear window on the front enabling us to see each other’s faces.
I know God works in mysterious ways, but these two seemingly random events happening as I was writing about them sort of took my breath away. Then I reminded myself that I was just getting a nod from the Creator that I was on the right track.
Covid-19 and having to social distance and wear masks are not the only reason people are emotional. In my opinion, it is so much more than that. The world, if you haven’t noticed, has become cruel. Politics has divided us like never before and there is such vitriol over it.
There is no patience or tolerance for beliefs other than our own. I have been personally deleted on Facebook from people I thought were good friends just because something I have said did not align with the way they feel politically. And let’s face it, nowadays everything seems to be political.
Heck, even today’s column and the fact that I say I wear a mask in public will be viewed as a political statement. I am really not sure how that happened. To me, wearing a mask is a humanitarian issue and has nothing to do with politics at all.
Whether you believe the virus is a real threat, or you think it is completely overblown hype, matters not to me. What matters to me is that if there is a small chance wearing a mask can help protect others, I want to do it. It is out of concern for others and nothing else.
In my humble opinion the issue of wearing masks is actually masking the real problem. Fact is, we have stopped putting other people before our own needs. All we seem to care about is me, me, me! And that is what is really dividing us.
Politics is not dividing us. Wearing a mask is not masking our love. And social distancing is not isolating us. We can look to blame anything and everything, but the problem lies within our hearts.
Until we start caring for one another again we will not heal. So tell someone you love them or thank them for loving you and smile under your masks, whether or not it has a clear window in front or not. Because, believe it or not, we are just one conversation and one smile away from healing the divide. It begins with each and every one of us.
It is pretty simple. Remember the Golden Rule. Love God and love people. Perhaps if we live by this simple commandment we can stop masking the problem. Life is mysterious.