One of the blessings living in regional Victoria in recent weeks has been the fact that, as we are so far removed from the metropolitan epicentre of the 2nd wave of this virus, we have not been subject to the same severity of restrictions that are being imposed for the well being of the wider community. We watch news broadcasts with sympathy as we hear the heartbreaking statistics and the subsequent limits needing to be placed to try and stem this flow of the infections.
As of midnight tonight, however, residents in regional Victoria will be required to join the metropolitan population in the requirement to wear a face covering when leaving our home. This has meant that stocks of disposable masks have been in high demand, and more encouragingly for me, the resources to be able to make reusable masks are being snapped up also. Friends reported that the queues to purchase fabric and sewing supplies were taking an hour to get to front of the line.
The reason I am encouraged by that is the fact that to wear a product and then discard it after 2 hours is something that perpetuates the belief that we live in a disposable society and that is okay. I personally believe that the homemade masks are more colourful and full of personality and do their part to brighten our dim circumstances.
I have been not looking forward to this change in how we do life, mostly because I love being able to read people and a great deal of those cues come from seeing facial expressions as a whole. While our eyes can be the window to our soul, it doesn’t always give the full picture.
As I have been considering the proposition of hiding behind this face covering I have realised that this is actually not a new phenomenon. We tend to wear masks in public and sometimes in private as well. We can hide who we really are and what we really think for a wide variety of reasons, but often out of fear and for self preservation. There are some who never let their guard down enough to allow others to see them as they truly are.
The only person who sees each of us in our completeness is God, no matter how much we might like to hide from Him. He sees through all of the masks we might choose to wear, and here’s a really important thing, he loves us anyway. He sees us, he fully knows us and he values who we are.
A verse in the much quoted ‘love chapter’ tells us that a time will come when all the masks will fall away. 1 Corinthians chapter 13 and verse 12 says, “For now we see only a reflection as in a mirror; then we shall see face to face. Now I know in part; then I shall know fully, even as I am fully known.” All pretence, all defences, all coverings will be stripped away, but we won’t fear, because it will mean that we will be free from having to hide, which is pretty hard work.
In these times of fear of the unknown, potential danger, restrictions in our movement and limits on our opportunities to connect try to resist the urge to ‘mask up’ in all areas of your life except for a necessary cloth face covering. When we choose to not shield ourselves with others we are our most authentic and have greater opportunity for real relationship, as God intends us to be. This is a reward well worth the risk, why not give it a try.