This season, I’ve heard it again and again. I’ve heard myself say it. “It’s not COVID” has become the new catchphrase. It means relax. It means don’t worry. It means it’s okay if I’m here.
Or does it? Is it okay if I’m here?
One thing I wish we’d learned from the pandemic is TO AVOID SPREADING ILLNESS!!!!!
I’ve missed four holiday events and three weeks of visits with grandbabies, friends and family because someone went on with life as normal. ALL. BECAUSE. “IT” wasn’t COVID.
But maybe it WAS strep. Maybe it WAS RSV. Maybe it WAS a stomach virus. Maybe it WAS the flu. Maybe it was a nasty cold.
Whatever it was, it (along with all the rest of us who’ve been sick lately) resulted in countless hours of suffering, spread to countless people. It meant many missed days of work for many people. It meant many doctor visits, much expense in medical care and medicine. Weeks without hugs, kisses, shared meals. Okay, so maybe we didn’t die, but still, why spread it around?
Some people just don’t get it.
We know how to avoid spreading illness.
Symptoms = Stay away
Yes, your family loves you and wants to see you. But the truth is, they’d rather not get what you have.
So there it is. No sugar coated, emotionally supportive, poetry-laden, relational or spiritual message today. Just a little vent and some sage advice:
Keep that bug to yourself.
Make it your mission to stop that bug at you.
That’s all for today. Oh, and one more thing. I wish you and yours a Merry Christmas and a Healthy New Year. I really do. Achoo.
The US is buzzing with political opinion, judgments, and even mud-slinging about masks. Wear it. Drop it. It’s gotten so bad here that folks can almost tell if you’re republican or democrat based on whether or not you’re wearing a mask.
Scientific opinion seems to change every time we open a search page.
All this talk about masks leads me to think about the other kind of mask.
After all, there are two types of masks.
One is tangible, designed to provide a physical barrier to block the spread of illness. By now, you probably have one of this type to color-coordinate with your daily outfit, and another that’s silly or funny. These masks are designed to block airborne illness from you to others. It’s really only the highest medical quality (N-95) mask that works to block the virus from reaching your lungs.
The other type of mask is intangible. It’s an invisible one. Maybe you’re not even aware you have one of these. It’s also known as a facade. We wear invisible masks all the time, without even thinking about it. We wear our invisible masks to block the undesirable effects of truth.
“How are you?” . . . “I’m fine.”
Conditioned as children to behave properly, we learned to dampen or conceal our natural responses. That’s not entirely a bad thing. If we didn’t hold back much of what pops into our thoughts and emotions, chaos would reign.
Relating to others through our facades might in some way protect us, but there are side effects.
Some effects are mild, like not getting our true feelings out and ending up with the need to find a release. Some can be more disruptive, like becoming ineffective at honest relationships, leading to poor job performance or even divorce. More severe side effects of living behind a facade can be grave, like becoming completely dissociated from your true self, or becoming so isolated and lonely that life loses its meaning and joy.
So what do we do about this? Do we just drop our masks?
I recall a time when I wanted to completely drop my facade of being “fine” all the time. I wanted to pursue my ideal of living a fully authentic life. I soon discovered (yep, the hard way) that most folks don’t feel comfortable with this level of honesty.
Imagine! Can you say ostracized? Distanced? Rejected? Maybe even persecuted?
Lesson Learned: There are times and places where it is safer to wear a mask. That invisible mask protects us—and others—from harmful vitriol.
It’s okay to make determinations for ourselves about where and with whom we choose to drop our masks.
There are safe places to drop your mask. There are people and times where you can safely lower your invisible mask without causing hurt or being hurt in return.
And if the situation changes, it’s also okay to change that decision and slip your mask back up for a while.
We can be authentic, honest and open people without necessarily spilling our guts all over the place.
How about you? What have you learned about wearing or dropping your facade?
Heart to Heart,
Joan T. Warren
Oh, and kudos to Jason Youngman, whose blog post “Jason Without His Mask” sparked my ideas for today’s post. Check his blog out here:
First, my apologies for leaving you so long! Writing is a hobby for me, and sometimes I fall into placing my beloved hobbies last on my list of things to do!
In the last couple months, though, I’ve been writing a lot more. The COVID-19 scare and distancing orders at first gave me LESS time to write (can you say homeschooling?), but then MORE. Fear of early demise reconnected me to the importance of prioritizing that which is most precious to me. Faith leads me to keep that up even though that fear subsides.
As a result, I’ve been tap-tap-tapping away on the novel I started nearly ten years ago! It’s epic, folks. So far nearly 150,000 words! Which, of course, will get whittled away in the editing process. That’s how I write. I overdo, then slice and dice. I’m in editing mode now, for most of the novel. There are a few chapters yet to write.
An awesome self-editing course I took from Mary Kole set me to creating this novel’s mission statement. A mission statement helps the writer stay on course. Each scene is re-read through the lens of that statement. If it doesn’t support the statement, it either needs to be reworked or sent to the chopping block. The mission statement can also lead into log lines, which help attract you, the readers, to be interested in the book.
So here, I entreat your help! Please take a look at the mission statement and tell me what you think. Does it interest you, bore you? Is it too long, or too wordy, or too whatever? Do tell! It’s better to fix it now than spend another day on something that isn’t worth it.
Here it is:
“Through stories from three centuries, The Bent Tree Path follows ordinary women who overcome oppression, abuse and despair and pave the way for future generations to connect with their rich ancestral heritage, their earthly and spiritual interactions, and their personal and relational health.”
So comment away, no worries about offending me. I can only see through my own eyes unless you share your perspective.