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Stopping To Start


 

I haven't worn a mask since  . . . when did COVID start? 

* * * 

I didn't really mean to not wear one, to be honest. This summer I was applying for a job at TacoBell and thought I might have to go ahead and wear the thing. Life had other plans, I suppose. And then came pride. I remember being weirded out when I first saw people wearing them. I was shocked, humored, slightly scared. 

The day before Trump announced he'd be banning international travel, I was laughing with my au pair family about whether or not this virus thing was worth worrying about. 

"I don't think so many people could be that stupid," I'd said.

"Just in case," my au pair mother said. "I'll buy some groceries."

She asked me to come along and bought me a dirndl. I told her I thought I might like somebody. If I married him would she come to my wedding? She laughed. I'd been living with her for four months and hadn't mentioned the guy once. And we had bigger worries; Would Trump let me back home? 

My German was still poor. No one answered our calls. So I boarded a train, hardly managing my luggage, thankful to anyone who helped me (normally it was a kindly looking Muslim, never a blonde German). At the airport, I was let past security. I threw away my favorite water bottle because I was so exhausted and tired of carrying it. On the plane, I was disturbed by loud feminine voices. "Is that what we Americans sound like? Is that what I sound like?" 

I heard it said my plane was the last plane allowed back home freely. Not sure if that's true. Makes a good story to tell. My temperature was taken. Some agent dropped my visa. "Hope you don't need that because I'm not getting it."

"I need it."

I waited. Finally, he grumbled and bent over to retrieve it. It wasn't like I was allowed behind his desk. 

I saw masks. Mostly worn by Asians. But also by others. I laughed. "People are actually wearing masks." I texted my friends. 

"People are actually wearing masks." 

I wasn't sure if I should still be laughing.

* * * 

"Hey, Keturah! I heard you were home. Could you please make sure to not come around my grandparents as they are at risk?"

That was the only home-welcoming I got, in person or through message. Shortly after, the sender deleted me on social media. She said, "Your posts just make me angry. I can be your friend when I see you, I just can't stand your posts."

The thing is I never saw her anymore because she'd made it clear for me to stay away, etc. And my posts? They were of me smiling with friends, mostly hiking. Okay, maybe I was disregarding the world's panic. But I wasn't mocking anyone's fears. I was simply enjoying God's glorious gifts. 

She wasn't the only friend to be upset at me for trying to continue living a normal life. 

Ah, but maybe it was rude of me to smile at the camera.

 * * * 

I've never enjoyed shopping all that much. Most of my cleaning clients didn't ask me to wear a mask. Those that did . . . I didn't have a problem telling them no. Politely, of course. I use good cleaning supplies made by yours truly. And it's normally expected to give your house cleaning lady at least six feet to work. 

I was annoyed by everyone who wore masks. But pretty early on I realized I didn't really care for the anti-maskers that much, either. I mean that I didn't care for how they acted

I wear dresses. I love wearing dresses. But I never try to force that on anyone. If someone asks me why I do it, I'll tell them why. But I don't go out there trying to make everyone do as I do. I save my aggressive evangelizing for when it's truly essential. 

I do not wish for maskers to tell me why I must wear a mask and am hurting businesses and killing old people if I don't. I know their arguments. And I have no desire to go and try to educate people on why they maybe shouldn't. I'm sure they know my arguments, too. Since when has it become acceptable to go and educate random strangers on your silly, life-style convictions? You see the smile, or you don't. That's enough for me.

It's not about smiling, really. Normally I'm so focused on what I need that I glare when I shop. Did I mention I don't really like shopping? I'm extra annoyed when someone tries to come and lecture me as I shop. Let me just get what I need so I can get out of here as fast as I can. I'll admit, there were quite a few times where I questioned whether or not it would be appropriate to spit in the eyes of people that just wouldn't stop harassing me. 

"Before Covid," I thought, "It would have been 100% acceptable to spit at anyone in kissing distance. Seriously. What political justification is there for being in my face!?"

It's not about not being controlled by the government. They don't rule me even in that way. I'm not one of those people who think, "Well, I'm free so I'm going to do just the opposite of what you tell me."

And it's not about being in charge of my health. I mean, maybe? But I don't really think about my health that much. 

Mostly, it's just come to a matter of pride and thinking I know best. And a long string of events that finally arrived to now. And you know what? That's all I need. I don't need to dump my pride on anyone else. I'll smile when I feel like it and leave when I'm told. I'm free. 

Or so I thought. I think it really did affect me more than I let on.

* * * 

I love traveling. Will I ever be able to fly again? I want to go overseas. 

I put the question on hold and went road tripping. But now I wonder. 

Will I let my pride keep me from flying? Would I seriously not wear a mask when I allow myself to be violated greater through TSA? Ah, and we live in such a world that thinks TSA is not really a violation. 

As one friend answered me, "TSA was a battle our parents lost. Don't lose your battle."

But . . . I haven't really been fighting. I've just been doing things according to pride and up-raising. 

I really don't want to wear a mask though.

I so need to travel. 

What am I going to do?

* * * 

And some may think I'm petty. "Why are you worried about traveling when people are dying? Just wear the mask." 

This post isn't meant for you. 

This post isn't meant to educate anyone. 

*  * * 

So many of my friends who I followed or stood with now wear a mask. Sometimes I feel alone. Mostly I grieve over their lost pride. No. Mostly I wonder if I have too much pride. I wonder . . . why am I doing this? I don't have any good reasons. 

* * * 

I haven't worn a mask at all during this pandemic. 

But I have feared and I have cried. How could neighbors tell me to stay away? Why did no-one greet me when I returned from Germany? I was gone six months. What happened to all my friends? When I first came back home, COVID wasn't an issue. Yet community was already dying, dead

And I'd already had fear. What would life be like once home? I hadn't envisioned this. I'd envisioned old friends, and new friends, and maybe a life-long love. COVID may not have gripped me with a mask, but it certainly found a ready fear to delight in.

I'm bragging about not having worn a mask. 

I'm thinking of just wearing a mask so I don't have to show that I'm not smiling. 

I say I want to fly. Really I want to be done with fear. I want community. People die; the great tragedy is how often we hurt each other while we're living. 

* * * 

I want to tell people it's not too late to stop wearing a mask. Find pride.

But then I'd have to tell myself that it's not too late to forgive and flourish. Let go of pride.

* * * 

It's not too late.

* * * 

You don't have to do this forever. You don't have to live a life of fear. Even one month was too long. Two years will be too long. Some say China has been doing it for ten years. Do you really want to live like China?

Have some dignity. Call it pride, if you like, as I am. Stand with your friends who falter. Take back the friends who momentarily forgot you and insulted you. Even the ones who didn't and won't. 

It's ok to have no reason other than, "I want to love life."

In fact, that's the best reason. 

Don't do it because you hate the government and fear becoming like China. Don't do it because you know best. Don't do it because you know your health best, etc. Do it because you love living. 

Do it so we all can live life and die together

* * * 

1 Samuel 2:6  "The Lord killeth and maketh alive: he bringeth down to the grave, and bringeth up."

* * * 

I haven't worn a mask. But I have feared. 

It's not too late for you to stop wearing a mask. 

It's not too late for me to start smiling. 

It's not too late for any of us to start anew. 

* * * 

I might wear a mask the day after COVID ends. Just for fun. 

* * * 

How long do you think this all will last? And you better not tell me, "It'll only last as long as people like you continue to disregard laws."


People like me are what keep communities thriving and government from becoming tyrannical dictators. We also end up getting killed. Ah, but to live is what we do. 


(For the month of April, I'm going to be sharing COVID posts. I'm so sorry. I never meant to write about it again . . . but things were written.) 

Comments

  1. COVID is overrated. And the media just *loves* scaring people. (Did I mention a politically incorrect comment coming your way???) And masks....since when did governors have authority to mandate them!?!? I've only worn a mask around 12 times (and only when I have to). Our mask mandate was lifted yesterday (I won't say whether or not we were following it). We were nearly kicked out of Barnes and Noble yesterday (a place we NEVER go unless we have a gift card), and the guy at the check-out told me "well, for future reference, you have to have a mask on". I told him I wouldn't be shopping there anymore. *shakes head* People, where is your common sense!?!?
    Sorry for the long comment/rant....
    P.S. An Amish friend told some friends of ours when he's asked where his mask is, he tells people he has CS (common sense), only most people think he says CF.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Ah! I love hearing how my blogging friends are feeling! Your comment was lovely, Lilly. I think you will find the rest of April interesting here. I'm heading in a direction that may surprise people on both sides ;D

      Delete
  2. Personally as the numbers of cases go down more and more (as they already are), I'll feel comfortable going out without a mask. I'm getting vaccinated in the next couple of weeks but I also think it's totally reasonable to believe we've all developed some natural immunity by now. My state no longer has a mask mandate and it's about 50/50 of seeing people with and without masks out in public. I'll still choose to wear one for probably a couple more months in stores. I don't wear a mask at work.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Our mandate has been lifted for some time, but I've just been noticing that I see less masks these days. That's nice you can be comfortable at work!

      Delete

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