This mask….I ordered it off Etsy….made it possible for me to enter into the indoor water park at Great Wolf Lodge with my family this weekend. I am allergic to chlorine and cannot usually even enter into an indoor swimming area without my airways beginning to close up. But this sweet little cloth mask allowed me to enjoy some anaphylaxis-free pool time with my kiddos and husband. What a blessing! And to think I almost missed it because of my pride!
I fought against the concept of medical masks for a couple years. It just seemed to symbolize defeat. I didn’t like the idea of covering half of my face, the stares, and for whatever reason, it seemed in my mind to be a bit pretentious. (I’m not saying that my reasoning is logical).
But finally I gave in and ordered a couple after an episode of anaphylaxis after exposure to some perfume in a public gathering. My husband and I were trapped in a middle of a row of individuals, and I came dangerously close to jabbing an epi pen in my leg in the middle of a worship concert.
As a result of this close call, I gave in and admitted that I had to value my safety more than my distorted sense of identity as a “strong person.” I found myself clinging so desperately to a false and even unnecessary identity that has actually robbed me of my true identity. I have been so terrified to be seen as “weak” or “vulnerable“ or “sick” that I have sacrificed my health and my quality of life.
This logic is so silly because of course I am weak; Of course I have needs; Of course I am vulnerable; of course I need help and can’t do this thing called life on my own: This is the human condition!
I lay down my crown and my cape and everything else I have pridefully pretended to wield so that no one could see my “weakness”. I’m weak. I desperately need help.
I am thankful for the medical help and support that is available for me to live a more normal-ish life. I am thankful for the people who uphold me and my family when we are limping along like a rag-tag bunch of hooligans. I am thankful for a God who specializes in the weak, the sick, the vulnerable, and the ones who draw the stares of the crowd because of our obvious weaknesses.
In the upside-down kingdom: Jesus declares in the sermon on the mount (Matthew 5) that those who mourn will find comfort, those who are meek will inherit the earth, the poor inherit the kingdom of heaven, those who hunger will be filled, the merciful will receive mercy, and all the upside down things of this world will be turned right-side-up again.
And, friends, here’s a secret: We’re all weak. We’re all poor. We’re all limping. Some of us just can’t pretend as well as others. Let us be to the world an outward manifestation of all of our inward states.
As I put on my medical mask, consider this my unmasking!