I have noticed over the last year how our lives have drastically changed. With the need for a face covering in nearly all public areas, I have found myself considering things that I never would have even conceptualized before:
1. We are always behind barriers. Whether we realize it or not, the first thing we do when we go out is put on a mask, to shield us, protect us from an unseen enemy, and in doing so we become unseen to our friends, and neighbors.
2. We are all wonderful critics of the proper wearing of a face mask. Material, on or off the nose, does it have a filter, is it N95, oh but then does it have a vent, or no vent?
3. We get mad when we forget a mask, or when someone isn’t wearing one or maybe even when we’re required to wear one. Oh how that person must not care for others!
During the election things were similar or even amplified. Barriers were drawn, and camps were made and either you were for or against. Either you are a liberal or conservative, democrat or republican, socialist or fascist, tolerant or racist. We were fed daily doses of “extract of ultimatum” from mainstream and social media platforms.
How are we to unify our homes, our communities and our country with the barriers we have built? May I be so bold as to offer one simple suggestion? It is love.
I am going to write a bit about what I feel is the purest form of love. I call it charity. When my heart is charitable, I do not think of myself. I am possessed by a feeling of wanting the best for everyone else. I think the best discourse on charity is found in the New Testament of the Bible. Here’s an excerpt from chapter 13 of 1st Corinthians (forgive the KJV old English, but hey we’re in Ashland!):
“And though I bestow all my goods to feed the poor…and have not charity, it profiteth me nothing. Charity suffereth long, and is kind; charity envieth not; charity vaunteth not itself, is not puffed up, doth not behave itself unseemly, seeketh not her own, is not easily provoked, thinketh no evil…Beareth all things, believeth all things, hopeth all things, endureth all things. Charity never faileth…”
Charity is the love that helps us unmask our hearts, and get past all the artificial barriers. Imagine for just a moment how many things you wouldn’t think about, that separate you from others, if the masks went away. (I’m speaking figuratively, not literally, C’mon, wear a mask!). No more nose in nose out; no more N95 vs KN95 vs cloth vs gator vs bandana. Think about what we could do if we thought less about who someone else voted for as a label for their entire life, and thought more about how we can help or serve them so they can have a better life.
As regulations begin to ease, let us all have patience and charity to one another.