Not again. Thinking through my mental shopping list, I jumped from my car and hustled into the store. The automatic doors whooshed open, and it hit me. I didn’t have my mask on. Again. Darts shot from the eyes of the masked shoppers sanitizing their carts in the entryway.
You would think 10 months into the mask-wearing phenomenon, I would remember it every time. But I don’t. I forget it when I’m hurrying or distracted. I have at least one mask in each car. There’s one in my tote bag. I usually have one in my purse or coat pocket, but not this time. I felt exposed, almost naked. I couldn’t spin around fast enough and get back to my car where my “Merry Christmas” mask would save me from the fearful stares and judging eyes peering over less festive masks.
At first, I didn’t do well with mask-wearing. They triggered my claustrophobia. There were times I needed to step into a deserted aisle to pull the mask down for just a few seconds before a panic attack took over. The paper ones were not good at all. They seemed to stick to my face, and I felt like I couldn’t breathe. Realizing mask-wearing was going to become the norm, I adjusted my homemade design to fit lower under my eyes, making me feel less confined. Then I just needed to remember to put it on before entering a store.
The words I saw on Facebook every day rang in my head, “just wear the mask,” “put on your mask,” “mask up,” “save lives, wear the mask.” It frustrated me. Viruses are microscopic. These cloth masks aren’t going to keep them out. Most of the time, I kept my thoughts of masks giving people a false sense of security to myself. Sometimes, I shared my thoughts and found out just how passionate people are about the mask mandate! One of my reasonings is that I wore the mask, and I still got COVID-19. When I was out in public, I never saw anyone not wearing a mask. People in my area have been careful and compliant. Yet, I got the virus the mask was supposed to protect against.
As I thought again about “just put it on,” I remembered another mandate of things to put on. “Put on then…compassionate hearts, kindness, humility, meekness, and patience…forgiving each other…And above all these, put on love, which binds everything together in perfect harmony.” (Colossians 3:12-14 ESV) Being passionate about putting on these things truly would make a difference in our world.
I decided to meditate on these verses every time I put on my mask. I’m hoping they will work their way into my heart and make me more compassionate, kind, patient, forgiving, and loving. We could all benefit from putting on those things. And maybe, just maybe, it will help me remember to put on my mask before I leave my car.