NOTE – Please be aware that last week’s excellent devotion. “Will I, or Won’t I?”, was created by Brendan Armitage. My apologies for not making that clear in the post. ~~PR
So I put my mask on for the umpteenth time that day. I sigh, with the same frustration that you probably express at the end of a long day of mask wearing. I step into the grocery store to do some food shopping for my mom. My glasses fog up each time I exhale … my beard starts to itch … the whole front of my face feels a little clammy. Since I am not an experienced food shopper, it takes me twice as long to collect what my mom needs this week, as it would take regular shoppers. And thus, I am so ready to get through the check-out line and get out the door into the freedom of the parking lot.
Before long the store exit is in sight … I hit the parking lot, and with a quick glance left and right to make sure no one is near me, I pull off my mask and take a deep breath … and suddenly I realize …just how AMAZING the night air smells. It is fresh, and chilly, and has a vibrancy to it that I have not really noticed before. I take a couple of deep breaths, and before I hyper-ventilate, I thankfully get to my car, and drive home. But for the next couple of hours, I continue to imagine myself breathing that fresh, full, rich air into my chest.
… and I realize that without my Covid-mask, I might never have noticed it. How is that possible? And as I reflect on that mystery, I start to think about other things that have been blessings bestowed upon me by my mask. (And I am not talking about … well … the fact that my mask helps to keep you alive and yours does the same for me. There is THAT, too, of course.) No, I think about my neighbor who walks her dog along the sidewalk that frames the north and west sides of my corner property. She waves, and I look puzzled, and walk towards her, apologizing that I don’t recognize her with her mask on (knowing that the truth is that I don’t recognize her with her mask off, either). She re-introduces herself and I do the same, and now I can wave when I’m mowing the grass, or say “Hello, Susan” when I am raking leaves. Then I think about the two kiddos who accompany their dad when he walks their dog around our corner. The masks they wear could cover the ground surface of Rhode Island, so all that peeks out is their eyes, lost in a field of cartoon dinosaurs and tractors. But oh … those eyes are beautiful, and light up the corner with the joy that clearly arises from dragging their dog around the block.
Yes, wearing masks makes me a little crazy. But at the start of this new week, I find myself acknowledging the gift of engaging a familiar world in a new and unfamiliar ways … and that … truth be told … it is a gift that is brought to me by my masks. And I find myself wondering … what other Covid practices exist that have opened up my eyes and ears and heart to things that I regularly ignore or miss in this amazing world God has created for us? I simply need to pay more attention. I simply need an attitude adjustment. Maybe you do, too ….