Mask Police

Dear person who refuses to wear a mask,

I promised myself at the outset of the pandemic that I wouldn’t play the role of Mask Police.

I’m not interested in facing your resistance to following a simple, sensical guideline. Instead, I don myself with more PPE than necessary, hoping to protect both of us.  What I haven’t mastered are the skills needed to protect myself from my judgment of you.

The world is highly contagious and it’s not just because there’s a virus afoot.  We are sick with hate, resentment, and vengeance. Fear has manifested in the form of civil unrest, political division and interpersonal distress and is infecting the masses in a far more catastrophic manner than a germ.

We know that those with healthy immune systems fair better against any number of assaults from the environment. This is true for the emotional immune system as well. But we may have to dig deeper into the (arsenal) toolbox for the right (weapon) instrument to (fight) build up our defenses against that which threatens our emotional resilience.

I grew up worshipping the Greatest Generation – those born into an unfortunate time in history that filled their early years with hardships. Not unlike us who are living through historic challenges, they lost jobs and lives. Perhaps unlike us, they learned to survive with less and were proud to do their part. Despite the sacrifices, they emerged as a grateful nation, learning to humbly accept a changed life. 

I’d like to think that we, too, are building something of worth – character, or skills, or ideas for reformation. It’s too early to tell, but the forecast isn’t promising based on current patterns of social anomie.

Ultimately, intolerance boils down to the fact that we oppose each other because we’re afraid. Afraid that if you’re right, I might be wrong.  Afraid that if you make your own choices, I might be in danger.  Each person fights with pointed finger for their own individual determinants of safety and rightness. We desperately try to construct ‘the world according to me’ to spare ourselves the discomfort of stretching our boundaries.

A waxing and waning gratitude practice has proven to me over and over that we don’t need to be ruled by fear and scarcity. When we shift the way we think about things, the things we think about change. With this in mind, we may be able to redeem some goodwill between us.

Instead of judging each other for our opposing beliefs and practices, we might ask ourselves, ‘What part of me is threatened by you and your differences?’

Here’s what I know to be true: when I judge you, I suffer.  When I accept you, I am peaceful. The gap between the two is simply a choice.

So, non-mask-wearing human, the next time we meet, I will summon tolerance in the name of inner peace which, I believe, is the first step to world peace. Or at the very least, good sportsmanship at this game of Life.

Love,

Deb

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: