I’ve been wearing a mask since our state first shut down on March 13. I had a paper one from my dental experience and now my daughter-in-law has made some cloth masks for me and Casey. A couple of weeks ago, before we’d even put 6-foot lines on the floors to mark the distance or face guards in front of the cashiers, I ran into the Liquor Store to pick up some drink, wearing my mask. There was a line of about six people, most of them about three feet apart. One guy in the middle of the line yelled out the minute I walked through the door: “Chinese!” I surveyed him: no taller than me, probably in his mid-thirties but looked about 60, glazed eyes, clutching a quart of beer (probably had to borrow the money for it), wearing shorts and a tank top and…socks…no shoes. The socks were ankle high with black and white dots and black “ears” on either side of his toes… “Nice socks”, I replied as a squeezed past him. He shouted at me again, “I said Chinese!” and pointed at my mask. I know I shouldn’t, but I turned and pulled my mask down slightly so he could hear: “Your socks are Chinese. They are panda bears. Panda bears are from China.” He kind of swayed and looked at his feet. “Whatever”… I pulled up my mask and went on, but I’m such a smartass…I couldn’t resist snarling..”Whatever” He got louder, “Whatever”…. I got in the last “Whatever”…
Life has changed, permanently. No amount of denial will put it back to the way it was just a few weeks ago. This week, for some reason, that really hit home with me. I’m not sure if it was the rise of infections, the predictions that it’s only going to get worse. Maybe it was the makeshift hospitals and funeral homes, or the rise of domestic abuse cases, or the bajillion new unemployment claims, but for a day or so all I could see was the Loss Loss of jobs, Loss of business, Loss of friends, Loss of dreams, Loss of Life. And you can’t grieve “normally” or be there with your loved one when they pass. It’s a sobering reality, but it is Truth: We can Never Go Back to Before.
Today is Palm Sunday in the Traditional Christian churches When I was a youngster it was the beginning of a marathon Holy Week of Music and Prayer as we re-lived the Passion of Jesus. Wearing our choir robes, we would process down the aisle to the Altar, waving our palm fronds and singing, All Glory, Laud, and Honor to Thee, Redeemer King!
This year, many years removed from those days, I am thinking how the disciples and followers of Jesus had no clue that their lives were about to be totally upended. They felt triumphant that day. No doubt they were excited to be in Jerusalem to celebrate the Passover and to bring more people into their movement. They felt confident and probably a little proud that their teacher was getting this clamor of praise — kind of like having 10 million followers on Insta…
Little did they know that in four days Jesus would be arrested and killed and they would have to run for their lives and hide somewhere. I have no doubt that after his death and burial they were confused and afraid. They knew it would never be the same, that what they had planned was not going to happen. They could only think of what they had Lost. What Did happen was so much better than their plans of grandeur. Their Loss was their Gain.
There’s a lesson there for us today. The past wasn’t meant to last. We begin again, going forward into a time of spiritual renewal and rebirth. Each of us will will emerge from this time a different person, a changed Human Being. And wouldn’t it be Awful if we did go back to the way we were? Do we really want to go back to a time when we were so mean to each other, when we were divided in every way, to when we ignored our neighbors, or labeled a stranger as “other”? Let’s Not.
Turn and Face the Changes.. Changes in the the way you worship, in the way you Live, in the Way you Love. Don’t trust someone who says he’s got all the answers and Knows more than G-d. No one can say what’s going to happen and there’s nothing at all new about that. True Faith is knowing that even in the worst of times, we are not Alone. Trust the guy who says, My Peace I give to you, the Peace that passes all understanding. Share that Peace with Everyone, even the Whatever guy.
I know this time has been brutal in every way for just about everyone financially, spiritually, mentally, physically. I am Loving the Surge of Camaraderie over on Facebook. It seems like the old days when fb was novel and people actually used it to converse. I’m with all you sweet mamas and daddies and grannies and gramps who are now sharing your tips for keeping everybody home and safe, making masks, creating some great videos, keeping a journal of your experiences and sharing your heartache at how your children are being affected. Naturally, I wish we could a join in a Giant Group Hug, but we’ll have to settle for our virtual hugs and Share Peace.
Whilst doing some digging the other day I twisted my knee and now I’m hobbling about like a little old lady. It’s slowed down my gardening, but I hope to get back at it today. It seems like it’s a regular occurrence, these small injuries — draining cysts, broken teeth, sprained foot and now knee. The Covid sure helps put things in perspective, doesn’t it? I’ll take my ibuprofen, prop up my legs, and thank The Lord that I can breathe.
Look out for each other and stay the fuck home. Wear a mask if you have to be out. Who cares if the assholes call you Chinese? Stay Strong, dear Readers.