Corona Chronicles-True Confessions#21

Another day of self isolating in COVID-19 world, which means another confession. As I said, I have no shortage of things to confess.  Today’s confession is probably shared by many, especially small children, I would think.  And it is simply this – I confess I am not all that fond of Halloween as a holiday.

Now before you rush to put me in the same category as the infamous Grinch, take a moment to consider.  I am not saying I am opposed to candy and costumes, princess gowns and power ranger gear.  I think it is the masks that have always made me uneasy, even scared at times, if I am being honest.  (and that’s what confession’s all about, right? – being honest)

So given that information, you can see why this whole “everybody wear a mask everywhere thing” because of COVID -19, is a bit unnerving when experienced in places that have typically been just run of the mill, everyday places of interaction, like the grocery store.

At certain worksites or in a hospital, masks are a part of the expected work uniform.  Therefore masks don’t seem all that unusual or out of place in those contexts.  But I am not used to seeing many masked people walking around in my local food store, when I run a routine errand.  Suddenly an everyday outing has morphed and mutated before my eyes into something else entirely – something vaguely sinister and mysterious and unrecognizable.

Why unrecognizable?  After having a recent “twilight zone” food shopping experience (I clarify that, although there is no other shopping experience available except online, as all other types of stores are closed) I began to question what I was feeling.  I couldn’t quite put my finger on it.

I felt that the experience was so different from pre-COVID-19 shopping experiences that I could hardly recognize it as the same thing I did before the virus.  Then it hit me, it was the people I didn’t recognize.  The store was the same (except for the empty shelves) but who were all these masked people?

How do we recognize people primarily?  By their faces!  Hair cuts and color change constantly, clothes change daily (hopefully) our bodies change over time but – when all else has changed, if I can look someone in the face, even someone I have not seen in awhile, it is their face that looks familiar to me.  It is their face that I recognize.

I literally walked right by a dear friend at Meijer just a few days ago.  She called out to me and I turned around, recognizing the voice but for an instant, not the masked figure before me.  She was wearing  a lovely designer mask that actually matched her stylish jacket.  We were able to have some much needed mask to face conversation (ok, there’s tomorrow’s confession, my mask was in my pocket, I was not wearing it because the store was not crowded at all)

So we had our warm, socially distant conversation, catching up and encouraging one another.  It was all I could do not to reach out and hug her, but I would never want to give anyone cause for alarm.  (sidenote- hugs were formerly a source of comfort, now they are cause for concern, a source of fear, yet another casualty of the COVID-19)

So I realized, it is the not seeing of peoples’ faces that gives an air of unreality and of surrealism to otherwise everyday situations and places where we have been accustomed to coming and going before the COVID-19.  The masking of our faces makes all the difference.

The masking of our faces fills us with fear.  Requiring the use of masks ensures that we will remain fearful.  Each mask is a visible signal and a visual reminder to each of us, everywhere we look, seeing ourselves surrounded by masked figures, we receive the unspoken message that something is not right, that something here is dangerous, that we should be afraid for our lives, that we have put ourselves in jeopardy just by being here – just by running this once routine errand.

I don’t know who is behind the mask.  Friend or foe?  What a difference a smile makes!  And our smiles are hidden behind masks ironically at a time when we all could use a smile or two, even from a complete stranger.  With everyone masked, I felt I had walked into a world of strangers.

It was a world of strangers.  It was a world of silence.  It was my local grocery!  It was eerie.  It was unfamiliar until I ran into my friend (not literally) and heard her voice.  Something or someone familiar in this new environment brought to us all by COVID-19.

We carry our countenance in our faces.  Our faces reveal our identity.  (why do you think criminals wear masks?  to hide their identities, of course)  We were created for the face to face, not the mask to mask or even the zoom to zoom.  I guess that’s why it is called Facebook and Facetime  etc.

As a self isolator, I find myself longing for the face to face with family and friends of the pre-COVID-19 days.  I long for what it says in 1 Corinthians 13:12,

“Now we see but a poor reflection as in a mirror; then we shall see face to face.  Now I know in part; then I shall know fully, even as I am fully known.”

I also love this promise to look forward to in Revelation 22:3-5,

“No longer will there be any curse.  The throne of God and of the Lamb will be in the city, and His servants will serve Him.  They will see His face, and His name will be on their foreheads.  There will be no more night.  They will not need the light of a lamp or the light of the sun, for the Lord God will give them light.”

And I love this one about our faces from 2 Corinthians 3:18,

“And we all, with unveiled face, beholding the glory of the Lord, are being changed into His likeness from one degree of glory to another; for this comes from the Lord who is the Spirit.”

Yes, there is something special, something sacred about the face to face encounter.

“It was not by their sword that they won the land, nor did their arm bring them victory; it was Your right hand, Your arm, and the light of Your face, for You loved them.”  (Psalm 44:3)

“The Lord said to Moses, ‘Tell Aaron and his sons, This is how you are to bless the Israelites.  Say to them: The Lord bless you and keep you; the Lord make His face shine upon you and be gracious to you; the Lord turn His face toward you and give you peace.’ ”    (Numbers 6:22-26)

I guess that would be today’s prayer for all of you, dear readers, “may the Lord turn His face toward you and give you peace.”

sincerely,     Grace Day

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

2 thoughts on “Corona Chronicles-True Confessions#21

  1. I love how you find something like masks and faces and then find so many scriptures about faces. Your writing always blesses me.

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  2. Thank you, friend, for yet again turning my heart toward God in His Word and for helping me to name why the masked world around me seems to only elevate the sense of being cut off from one another … no beautiful smiles that serve to only enhancement the light in the soul. Many lampstands wearing masks, many cities on hills light being covered, smiles being the first indication of a safe & warm embrace, now covered. I too am pondering how the many things are we being asked to do in order to save lives are actually cutting us off from the life source of living we receive as we live in the land of the living rather than in this new land we find ourselves in that in many ways has elevated the fear of death over the joy of being alive with one another.

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