“There are a lot of reasons to wear a mask, even if you hate it.” Eighteen months in, and still having these hard discussions with people. I think the frustration I feel is due to the inconsistency in messaging. When I take a step back and reevaluate, I feel frustrated by my own lack of control, and lately, the feeling that my safety net has betrayed our highest calling in the interest of a divisive political issue.
It’s not unkind for public health measures to be required in the interest of health and safety for the greater good. Protecting the vulnerable and caring for the least of these is the calling (not just supporting one side of the political aisle). Science is not the enemy.
I know as a motherhood blog you might be like what is going on here, but hear me out: we love our children so dearly and we preach all lives matter—but how can I tell my children that when the people we are supposed to be on mission with are actively trying to remove the mandates that keep us safe? Mandates became necessary when there was a flippant disregard for the safety of others.
We trust the science for all kinds of things up to this point, but now suddenly we want to play the church card to protect our “rights.” We say we are prolife as a group and yet we are actively protesting life saving measures. It’s absolutely a line in the sand when you publicly display your distaste for not only measures that protect but also the people who choose to abide by them.
In all the collective tragedy and difficulty of the last 19 months, one of the hardest remains the feeling of betrayal by our church. 💔 It was our family, our home away from home for 12 years. Gone almost overnight because of the refusal to acknowledge the severity of a deadly virus. And sadly there were many more issues this pandemic brought to light. I’ll remember fondly but always feel hurt by how a place I loved and called home treated others at our most vulnerable.
I’m tired! Daily I hear reports and see social media posts from Evangelical Christians claiming the science isn’t reliable. Claiming they don’t trust the CDC, and yet trusting all the adverse reactions reported on VAERS (which is run by, among others, the CDC). Being prolife but not willing to mask up to protect more people from dying. I’m tired!
I’m tired of the isolation. The majority of my friends and family have not even met my daughter born in March 2020. Do I like wearing a mask? Nope, it’s hot, my face itches, my glasses fog up, people can’t always understand me, my ears hurt. Am I doing it? Yes! Am I vaccinated? Also yes. Because not everyone around me is or can be, and some are fully vaccinated but still immunocompromised, and I don’t want the responsibility of giving someone vulnerable a deadly disease. Because my youngest has delays and special needs and requires regular weekly therapies. Because her therapists have families, too, and it’s the kindest thing I can do for people who give so much to their communities.
There are a lot of reasons to wear a mask even if you hate it, but here are 4. I did not write this post, but I do support it. Brett McCracken from The Gospel Coalition wrote it in July 2020. I think it still applies, and it’s not a long read, so go check it out if you haven’t already. The quote above in the box is from this article.
I’m tired. I’m really tired of seeing who genuinely cares. Masks can be a simple outward expression of neighborly love. I can still see people’s beautiful eyes, the way their foreheads crinkle when they frown or the way their mask moves when they smile. All 3 of my children are capable and willing to wear their masks when out. This includes 7 hours at school, at various different therapies for my youngest who is barely a year and a half, and whenever we’re able to have a play date.
Over 600,000 people in America have DIED from this disease, and yet there’s a slew of folks in my DMs sending me the cruelest things. Am I saying I’m holier than anyone else because I believe that masks work? No, absolutely not. I’m saying science is not the anti-Christ. I’m saying God may have given us a way to end this pandemic with masks, social distancing, and vaccines. You can totally be skeptical of the vaccine and still respect others by agreeing that masks work. Even before Covid entered our vernacular, didn’t we teach our children to cover their coughs and sneezes?
If you’re having an all-natural home birth and something goes wrong, aren’t you going to trust your midwife when she calls the ambulance, if the doctor has to rush you back for an emergency C-section? If you want an epidural, don’t you trust that science? If you’re going somewhere in the car, don’t you buckle your seatbelt? Aren’t you keeping your kid in a car seat, because the science and the tests and the technology all show they’re effective? How many children had to die for people to accept the need for a car seat? Child safety caps on medicines? Why not apply the same pro-life logic we use to protect unborn children to protecting others from a virus that’s rapidly evolving worldwide?
Why are we so up in arms over a mandate when we had the opportunity to stop the spread out of the goodness of our own hearts? If you’re still with me, I’d implore you to consider listening to this sermon.
In fact, I’ll make it easy for you. Fast-forward through the first 23 minutes. There’s a little gear in the bottom right of the video that allows you to change the speed, too. And there’s even a notes page so you can see where he’s going with it.
A disclaimer, because these days I’ll get destroyed in the comments if I don’t place one: I don’t agree with every aspect of this pastor’s teaching (he’s not my pastor. I’ve seen some of his other sermons) and I’m certain we differ in many ways, but I think this message and response to Covid and the history he shares on previous pandemics and how churches responded is spot on. And, it’s how I wish my church would have responded to the whole crisis. It’s okay to admit we made mistakes along the way, or to shift course. It’s okay to change direction when we see how things are going or when new information arises. I wish more people would watch this message and listen to the historical perspectives while considering how something like a global pandemic could bring us more together instead of dividing us further. I realize unity is not uniformity but a mutual desire to coexist respectfully out of a genuine desire to put others first (sweet reasonableness, not sameness).
I am tired. I’m sure you are, too. There are things we can do collectively to end this pandemic without denying facts and dismissing science. People calling me out in my DMs telling me I don’t love Jesus is hurtful, sure, but what’s worse is knowing that people I once thought I could trust seem dangerous. It’s not that we can’t agree to disagree, it’s that we have lost all ability to respectfully disagree without attack. We’ve lost all ability to respect boundaries. My small group has had various differing comfort levels throughout the pandemic, but when we meet together we always defer to the least common denominator. If even one person is not comfortable meeting unmasked, we all mask, vaccines or not, because we care enough about one another that meeting with a mask is worth it.
One more angle: WHAT IF we are wrong? Bear with me. I’m not so proud as to think I’ve got it all figured out. What if I’m wrong, and masks don’t work? What have we lost? A year of not seeing your unmasked face within arm’s reach? Is that really the end of the world? I’d rather be inconvenienced than incapacitated (or worse, put someone else in danger). What’s the trade off, that more lives are lost? I’m willing to keep my germs to myself and take that risk. If I am wrong, being uncomfortable because of a mask for 18 months is the LEAST I can do to err on the side of caution. Because if we are right, and masks do work, I get to live out my prolife stance. What if the health of those around me trumped my own personal comforts? Is that not the gospel lived out?
Hear me out: this is not an attack on a specific group of people, and I welcome the comments that encourage one another kindly to stretch our thinking. What would Jesus do?