Masks have a history of protecting more than just health
"So do not be afraid, for I am with you; be dismayed, for I am your God.
-- Isaiah 41:10 (AMP)
I had my first trip to the grocery store with shoppers and workers wearing masks. It seemed rather odd for me, like I was reliving my younger years as a nurse.
When I was a new nurse, I considered masks exclusive to the medical profession. I guess because my first experience with wearing one was for the personal protective equipment (PPE) as a nurse. I wasn't caring for COVID-19 patients, but there were a variety of other illnesses I was exposed to that were just as seriously contagious.
As a medical professional, you wear the mask to protect yourself as well as the patient. Anytime I attended the delivery of a newborn, or changed a patient's sterile dressing, it required a mask. I gladly endured a little inconvenience to show kindness and compassion by protecting another.
Masks have been considered a form of protective gear for centuries. Painters, construction and factory workers have all used them. Allergy sufferers find they come in handy during seasons when high pollen counts leave them sniffling and sneezing.
In our human frailty, we've expanded the use of wearing masks -- seeking not only physical protection, but emotional and spiritual protection as well.
The fun of disguising ourselves in a Halloween mask originally came about because people believed on Halloween Eve they needed to ward off evil spirits. For those misguided ones, masks were considered a type of spiritual protection.
Over the decades, the colorful and creative Mardi Gras masks have been used as a protective cover-up so their users can release their inner inhibitions without anyone knowing their true identity.
Sometimes an unsuspecting soul wears an unhealthy emotional mask, hiding behind unwholesome behaviors they believe will protect them from being hurt or shunned by others.
Hiding behind these kinds of masks can be considered living a shallow life. Many people do it without realizing it, but they are keeping themselves from being their authentic selves and reaching their full potential.
Wearing healthy protective equipment is always the wise thing to do to help prevent problems from arising. But our ultimate protection comes from God. His protection is available anytime of the day or night. His abiding love and protection is always there, just a whisper or a prayer away.
So when great fears come knocking at the door of our hearts, we can quiet and calm our troubled souls with the fact God is watching over us.
Over the years, when I've had nights tossing and turning, I'd turn on Christian music. Listening to the soothing music and meaningful lyrics were like listening to the calming lullabies we use to comfort our babies. It doesn't take long until I feel protected and fall asleep. It's like a soothing PPE for the soul.
So as we continue the fight our invisible enemy, let's masquerade out-of-doors to the market or workplace, making it a faithful, fit and creative experience. I'm enjoying observing the fashionable patterns and colors some are wearing on their fabric masks.
It's a way of stopping the spread of the virus, and spreading some much needed joy in these troubling times.
• Annettee Budzban is a Christian author, speaker life coach and nurse. She can be contacted at Annetteebudzban@aol.com or leave a message at (847) 543-8413.