Who Was That Masked Man? (Or: Why We Wear Masks in the Time of COVID-19)
In these days of COVID-19, we are told to wear masks and engage in social distancing in public places by the Center for Disease Control. This is not to protect us, but to protect others from anything we could spread. We may have the virus and be asymptomatic. Or, we could be carriers.
We don't know. Unless we are tested every day, we do not know if we could infect other people. However, since tests are not always perfect, one could have the virus and still test negative. In this time, anything is possible.
Why do some people refuse to wear masks? They may not understand that wearing a mask is for the sake of others, not oneself. Masks do not protect the wearer from contracting the disease. Some people may believe that they CAN'T infect others, or if they did, it doesn't matter that much. Wearing a mask is about caring for others' well-being and good health. It is a sign of caution, respect, compassion, and love for the community.
Diseases like COVID-19 spread in the air They are caught easily by others. Sneezing, spitting, even talking could send out harmful disease particles.
So, we can tell who is concerned about the health of the community and who is not by their "mask" behavior. Some people don't think they can get sick. The reality is that we have close to 100,000 deaths so far in this country -- almost 1,000 in Minnesota. People of all ages have died. No one is immune to it. Some people thought children were not likely to contract the virus. Now, we learn that many children are dying from it.
Social distancing is not easy for some people who live in crowded conditions. The elderly, the poor, and racial minorities who are more likely forced into public contact suffer the most. Staying six feet apart is a luxury.
My mask was hand-made by a relative. It has a Little Red Riding Hood and the wolf print on it. I have five other masks to wear in case this one needs washing.
We may have to sacrifice longer than we would like. But, it is time to think about being more careful, rather than less careful.
Maintaining Gratitude in a Time of Socially-Distanced Milestones
GRIEVING OUR LOSSES
So many people are missing out on in-person celebrations these days. As we move through Mother's Day, Father's Day, graduations, birthdays, anniversaries and other celebrations this spring and summer, we are forced to develop other ways of saying, "Congratulations, You Made It!"
People are postponing celebrations, and hoping the future will allow more of the typical connected experiences. One of the saddest aspects of COVID-19 is people dying alone, without the comfort and physical presence of their loved ones.
We have car parades, and cheering from balconies. We have signs and balloons, and other ways of marking major accomplishments, changes, and shifts
This is probably not a major issue for people who are suffering in hospitals, people who are homeless and people who are starving.
How does one stay living in gratitude when some of the major joys have removed from our every day lives?
WE ARE SO BLESSED!
Those who are caring for the sick (doctors, nurses, aides) without the proper protective gear are to be appreciated for their courage, expertise, and compassion.
There are so many working tirelessly at finding a vaccine, developing and disseminating tests, feeding the hungry, and maintaining social structures. There are millions of teachers who are adjusting to virtual classrooms. Small business owners are struggling to keep their families housed and fed.
Let us pray for all those who are in need. Let us thank God for being with us in the midst of this challenging experience.
Our lives are different, and will probably be different because of this epidemic.
We can connect in many different ways. Some of us call 25 people weekly to check in. We offer help to anyone who needs help. Unity Minneapolis provides angels during this time who are available to shop for food for people who are at risk if they go to stores.
We remember that we are strong, and God is even stronger.
I have been hearing about how decisions are being made when there are limited medical supplies such as ventilators. Younger people receive preferential treatment over the elderly. It is assumed that once one is past 70, one has lived a full life and is probably ready to die.
False, unfair and the ultimate sign of ageism.
I know fifty or more vibrant people in their seventies and eighties. They are intelligent, agile, and capable of clear, complex and creative thought.
Here is one example: One man, close to 90, regularly rides the stationery recumbent bike next to mine at the YMCA. The Y is now closed for exercising, so I don't see him very much. However, he would buy low cost epsom salts at Costco for me, and then we would exchange the bags for cash in the Y parking lot. He told the Y staff we had a deal going on in the parking lot, and that he had white powder that I was buying. They chuckled. He calls me when he is going to Costco. We still make that exchange -- except in a different parking lot.
Many of my friends are older, and leading vibrant lives. They are writers, artists, group members, readers, public speakers, volunteers, and excellent communicators. They have made incredible contributions to society and plan on making many more. They are not ready to go. They may be more susceptible to be infected by COVID-19 than others. However, they have had many diverse experiences, and many of them have learned valuable life lessons only time and healthy reflection can provide.
So, in this time of caution and concern, let us remember that all human beings are God's children, worthy of saving and worthy of living.