Wearing protective masks has entered the conversation about the transmission of COVID-19. It has become protocol for many health care professionals, including patient service representatives. We should not limit the level of precautions to take. Each week brings new understandings of this virus, how it works, and especially, how it is spread.
On Facebook there is a new group “Sew Masks for Door County”. Even though the hospital cannot use them, the masks do have value for other essential workers who continue to do what they need to do. The Facebook group has a link to a pattern, if you like to sew and are inclined: https://www.sewcanshe.com/blog/5-free-diy-face-mask-tutorials-using-fabric?fbclid=IwAR1KyGRuZeykXsDai-cCbhprM5LZIwib9ZkB_dYh4BYuDO6TgtQhKhsKFfU
I thought of the masquerade scene in Romeo and Juliet. The Montague and the Capulet could see enough that they loved each other, but their true identities where hidden (Act I, Scene V, if you’d like to follow along at home.) The barrier both conceals and reveals. Their masks provided them the safety to be authentic.
Certainly, we live under different conditions these days. I’m not one much for masquerades or dressing up in general. In college for Halloween one year, my roommate and I dressed up as Randy the Macho Man Savage and Hulk Hogan. I was Hulk Hogan. There was then, and now, nothing Hulk Hogan-esque about me. Since then— if I’ve dressed up at all for Halloween —I’ve dressed up as “Patriot Fan in a Sweatshirt”.
I’ve worked hard throughout my adult life to figure out who I am (or who I am still becoming). Now that I’ve figured out who I am, I don’t want to have to hide who I am. I want to be me.
Back in the fall I preached on identifying your hero outfit—knowing who you are and how to be your best self. I filched the idea from a business blogger who suggested that once you’ve figured out who you are, you can build a wardrobe around your strengths, and be comfortable and confident in all situations. In the context of a sermon, I focused on the trendy fashion of compassion, obedience, and sacrifice.
The introduction of safety masks will be strange at first. They are not fashion-forward. Maybe someone with a Bedazzler can help.
Safety masks need not make us less authentic. We don’t have to be who we aren’t. Maybe the thin line of protection will allow us to drop our guard, to confess our fear, our disappointment, our rising restlessness. Like Romeo and Juliet, a mask can give us occasion to be absolutely true to ourselves and our neighbors.
And when it’s over, when we get to take these masks off, maybe we will decide to NOT to put the old masks back on. Maybe we will risk being who we truly. Being unmasked may give us occasion to be absolutely true to our neighbors—and more importantly—to ourselves.