To wear or not wear the face mask, has become the question. Standing in line at Glenview’s Dairy Bar Sunday afternoon gave me a chance to do some people watching. The couple behind me both had their home made masks on, one with a big floral print. The couple in front of me, one had a mask on the other did not. The students in front of them had masks on snug around their ears but pulled down under their chins.
Wearing or not wearing a mask can mean a variety of things that we cannot deduce simply by people watching. Was the couple in front of me from two different political persuasions, believing two different perspectives on the virus, or was one an asthmatic? The students clearly knew they needed a mask to at least be served but chose not to cover their nose or mouths. I was the only one who read into the instructions and waited in line alone. It is easy for me to be gentle and generous with people around me who make their choices, but it is really challenging to be a parent and explain it all.
For example in my home, Mabel thinks everyone should follow the rules period and Bethany wants to fit in and be safe at the same time so feels tense about it all.
As a parent it is a challenge to teach our kids rules and the importance of integrity, while always being respectful of others who choose differently. As they get older, we prepare them for an increasingly complex world. We help our young adults understand the importance of making good decisions. At times these decisions cause opposition and we need to remain respectful always of others. We want to teach the path that in society so many do not follow.
The face mask that is causing tension in our society is also a great way to help our kids begin to understand all the aspects of being part of a respectful society. The calling for Christian parents is to be people of integrity while we model the compassion of God in how we interact with all people.
While Jesus knew nothing of American society or politics, like us Jesus people watched and navigated the social politics in his day in such a way that teaches us how God wants us to be. Jesus often used the metaphor of the Kingdom of God as a way to help his students become loving agents in the mix of society. He taught that Christians build the invisible kingdom when we care for the poor, lost, vulnerable folk in society and treat every person as our neighbor, even people you might disagree with or worse. Through God we build this Kingdom and leaven the world with Compassion.
The Rev. Nadia Boltz-Weber suggests that when we wear our masks we are passing the peace. I love this way of looking at it; we wish others wellness by covering our face. It is a simple gesture, like a handshake or hug, and offering respect and hope for the health of all.
With you on the journey,