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  • Katie Smith

Mask = love ?

Recently, I happen to chat with several different nurse friends, and two of the four were not getting vaccinated, while the other two had already been inoculated. I wanted to understand different sides of the seemingly same story in order to understand different perspectives. Perspective is everything after all. Without the proper lens we are seeing but ever so blind, or hearing but never completely understanding. Deaf and dumb make seeing hard to believe. Thus, I inquired further without hesitation.

When you live in a bubble with four little boys, it's easy to miss out on the "real world", or merely put on the wrong lense, making you clutz your way through the grocery store in a blurry stupor. This busyness of motherhood is actually part of an antidote to anxiety (there is no time to worry), but the busy bubble can also hurt your perspective if you don't reach outside your home-life and look through another lense once in a while. We must continue asking good questions and approaching the right perspective if we hope to grow away from fear.

That said, I learned something new that helped me understand this fearful climate in which we currently live. *This is not a universal statement, but applies to some, and it helped me understand a mindset I didn't previously know. The number of masks a person wears equals the amount of love they have for other people. "Masking up" doesn't always mean you are fearful of getting sick, but rather that you care about others more than yourself.

Hearing this perspective made me ponder for a while. I hadn't thought of it that way before. I lingered and longed to lift up the meaning of love in the right way, not just with any old lense. I hesitated, though, because of my own own experiences. Mine is just another perspective to ponder as you think about the meaning of love and showing that love towards your fellow neighbors.

When I had itty bitty boys, three of the four required medical attention every time they contracted germs. I distinctly remember all of my ER and OR visits from mere "viruses." It didn't feel like a little "bug" to me. It felt debilitating. I would fight mental battles around sending my eldest, healthy son to school, knowing some parents would send their sickly children alongside of him because they had to work full-time jobs. Cold and flu season became my year-round experience. Yet, I did not want to self-isolate or train my kids in the art of germaphobia. There were no masks then, no temperature check or sanitizing stations, so I had to give grace, pray, and make choices for our family based on the spirit instead of my flesh, which wanted to stay healthy. I could not place our boys in a bubble, but I could do my best and trust for the rest.

I understand there are many perspectives, and we need love and grace for all of them... for everyone. However, don't forget: "Who knows a person’s thoughts except their own spirit within them? In the same way no one knows the thoughts of God except the Spirit of God. And so it was with me, brothers and sisters. When I came to you, I did not come with eloquence or human wisdom as I proclaimed to you the testimony about God. For I resolved to know nothing while I was with you except Jesus Christ and him crucified. I came to you in weakness with great fear and trembling. My message and my preaching were not with wise and persuasive words, but with a demonstration of the Spirit’s power, so that your faith might not rest on human wisdom, but on God’s power" (1 Cor. 2:11, 1-4).

As I learned to trust in God's power, I gained freedom from fear. I learned how little control I have over my health. There is nothing wrong with wearing one, two or even three masks, but there is something wrong with making judgements based on mere appearances. One of my previously "sickly" sons is finally (with much effort) constructing appropriate sentences at the age of six. I often neglect masks in places where it's not required because it hinders his sweet speech therapy. This is our different perspective , no better and no worse, just different. But I pray our lack of masks doesn't take away from our ability to love others well. We may be misunderstood by our choices, and we don't even have to agree on these choices, we just need to learn to love despite our differences. I can only hope others will give grace and trust that there is a grander Spirit at work in the midst of every circumstance to God's glory.

Thankfully, good speech or poor speech behind a mask, when I think of our progress, I recall 1 John 3:18: "Little children, let us not love in word or talk, but in deed and truth." How can we love truthfully if we are judging superficially? Instead, love like a child: carefully, yet careless.

~ Always Carefully yet Careless

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