Masked Man

Support them or oppose them… love them or hate them… I think we can all agree: facemasks are a major PAIN.

Show of hands: how many times have you done the infamous mid-parking-lot-spin-around-while-slapping-your-forehead as you suddenly realize the store you are about to enter requires masks and you left yours in the glove compartment of the car?

For me, too many times to count.

And how many times have you found yourself huffing and puffing on the elliptical machine thinking, “Help! I can’t breathe! Why am I covering up my nose AND mouth at a time when I need to be gulping in MORE air… not less??!!”

Pop quiz: how many facemasks are in your possession right now? Six? Eight? A dozen? Do you have one to match every outfit you wear?

The ultimate insult for Joan and I was last week’s return flight from Munich, Germany to Denver. Eight and a half hours of masking on the flight from Munich to Newark, NJ… three more masked hours in the Newark airport… and then three and a half hours of maskedness on the flight from Newark to Denver. 

SHEESH! NEVER have I been more relieved to tear a mask off my face than when we stepped out the doors of the DIA West terminal.

But, like them or not, facemasks will continue to be a fact of life for us for a while yet. 

So why not look on the bright side and try to make the best of a really annoying thing?

Let me give you one quick example of what I’m talking about. Let’s say… just to offer a wild and completelyrandom example… you had some delicious BBQ ribs for dinner. And then, right after dinner, you went to a meeting – facemasks mandatory! – at your church. Partway through the meeting, you realize that you have chunks of that delicious BBQ still stuck in your teeth. Wearing a facemask lets you work away at dislodging that meat with your tongue without anyone realizing what you are doing! 

Or what if – in that same meeting – someone said something that really rubbed you the wrong way. If you’re wearing a facemask, you can just stick your tongue out at them, completely incognito!

Masks let you rip off an undercover yawn, make secret “duck lips” at someone, or even a put on a surreptitiously mocking frowny face as your neighbor tells you yet one more “tale of woe” about all the leaves in his yard. 

(You just have to be careful your eyes don’t give you away.)

Besides all of THESE benefits of facemasks, what about the endless list of things we can do with them AFTER this pandemic is over. Slingshot, anyone? Egg carrier? Risqué bikini? 

Of course, I kid. 

Masks are an unfortunate, but necessary, part of living in a pandemic-plagued world. As much as we dislike wearing them, we do so as an expression of care for our fellow humans. 

You know what else? Our personal freedoms are absolutely undiminished by our positive responses to a mask mandate.

And so, while we are busily masking ourselves to prevent the spread of disease, I thought it might be a good time to be reminded of this simple fact: we can never “mask” our true selves from God. 

As Psalm 139:1-4 (NRSV) so eloquently reminds us: “O Lord, you have searched me and known me. You know when I sit down and when I rise up; you discern my thoughts from far away. You search out my path and my lying down, and are acquainted with all my ways. Even before a word is on my tongue, O Lord, you know it completely.”

Assuming all those words are true, how does that make you feel? Do you feel nervous? Vulnerable? Anxious? Paranoid? OR do those words have the effect they were intended to have… that is, do they assure and comfort you?

Being known intimately AND YET still loved unconditionally by the One Who Made You should be GOOD NEWS. In fact, it should be the best news you’ve ever heard. 

So, no matter what mask you are wearing today, know that God sees you. And KNOWS you. And LOVES you.

Abundant blessings;

10 Responses to “Masked Man”

  1. November 18, 2021 at 7:26 pm

    All that grimacing and sticking out your tongue may be fun at the moment, but be careful you don’t get in the habit of instinctively making faces, or once the masks come off … !

  2. November 18, 2021 at 10:53 pm

    What one needs is zen-like patience in life. The ability to walk through the plants with burrs on them and not get angry or upset. The sense that there is beauty all around and the beauty cancels out the negativity.

    — Catxman


  3. 4 Carol Congalton
    November 19, 2021 at 12:55 am

    Old habits die hard as they say. I still put on lipstick when I’m going out and then stop and think ‘why?’ when I am masked. 😀

  4. 5 ephesians413
    November 20, 2021 at 2:56 am

    I completely agree that wearing a mask does not take away my freedom. True freedom comes from one and only one person, God. No one, no thing can take that away if it’s real inside of me. At the same time, although I’m not fond of wearing it (sometimes it feels suffocating and it’s harder to make myself understood), it protects both my neighbor and me. And the last note: it’s quite handy in the winter as a nose and face warmer!

  5. November 20, 2021 at 9:10 am

    In response to your ‘pop quiz’: just three; one in each of the jackets I habitually wear. As a result I’ve never had to do the mid-parking-lot-spin-around-while-slapping-your-forehead thing. And as I’ve vowed never to fly again, I’ll also never have to endure wearing one for hours on a plane, as you recount here. (Though I do miss travelling to foreign parts, my long legs don’t miss the miserly seat spacing the airlines so oh-so-generously provide in their obeisance to the god of profit.)

    • November 22, 2021 at 7:50 pm

      Oh my GOSH! You are so right. I am 6’2″ and have an absolutely miserable time with leg space on long flights. Fortunately on both the flight over and the flight back, there were entire empty rows close to us so both my wife and I could stretch out to our (limited) heart’s content.

      • November 23, 2021 at 7:59 am

        I’m an inch shorter than you… It’s been years since I’ve flown, but not so long ago that I can’t still recall that a great many of the flights I went on had many empty seats. Would it have really killed them to take some out to leave more room for everyone? (The only conclusion I’m able to come up with there is the thought that, by making ‘second class’ so uncomfortable, they encourage more to pay the extra for ‘first class’.)

  6. November 30, 2021 at 4:40 am

    I have at least a dozen masks–at least two for each day of the week. Yes, some are to match outfits. 😀 Thankfully, we don’t have to “mask up” for God.

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