It is interesting to see how creative people have gotten with making masks to wear in public.
Wait. Stop. Re-read that sentence. What if you were to read this sentence a few months ago before the realities of this global pandemic had set in? You would think you were in some off base episode of the Twilight Zone. Why? Because people have never been excited about wearing masks in public. Well, some still aren’t. More on that in a minute.
Not long ago masks were most often seen on professional wrestlers like Nacho Libre, Vader, Kane, Mankind, Rey Mysterio.
If not professional wrestlers mask-wearing seemed to be primarily reserved for menacing figures like the Phantom of the Oprea, Michael Myers, Jason Vorhees, Darth Vader, and most recently Kylo Ren.
Sure some heroes wear masks too! You can’t forget the likes of Zoro, Batman, Spiderman, and other comic book greats. Mask wearing seems to primarily have been reserved for the dark and mysterious and oftentimes evil characters that were trying to hide something.
The "New" Normal
A few months ago masks seemed to belong more to the world of fantasy rather than a necessity in reality.
This, however, is our new reality. Put aside politics, conspiracy theories, and hate. Many states across our great country are recommended that people wear masks while in public. Almost every establishment you go to you see employees mandated to wear masks. Mask wearing, like it or not, is a reality. Masks are here to stay, at least for a time.
You are one of two types of people. You are either pro-mask or against wearing masks. I am not here to convince you to be one or the other. That being said, I want to make a point that many for a lifetime have overlooked. This great mask debate can teach us an important truth about living with a disability.
Below are some arguments I've heard about not wanting to wear masks:
- I don't like the way people look at me
- What if no one else is wearing a mask I will stand out and look silly
- I'm afraid I will be treated differently
- I’m afraid I will be discriminated against
- People will think I'm sick
- People will think I am contagious
- People will fear to be near me
- I will be avoided
Take the list of arguments above and throw out the mask idea altogether. Now replace the mask idea with the idea of living with a disability.
You see those thoughts, fears, and experiences are things that people in the disability community lived with every day before this global pandemic started. They continue to live with these realities now and will do so after this coronavirus mess finally goes away.
Those who do not live with a disability can for a moment experience some of the same feelings and realities that our friends with disabilities live with every day. The question is what do you do with those feelings?
It is my prayer that God will use these current realities to soften the hearts of people. It is my prayer that God will make us a more compassionate people. It is my prayer that God will help us to love one another no matter what we look like, no matter how we talk or if we use spoken words at all, no matter how we walk or if we walk at all, no matter what.