As a father has compassion on his children,
so the Lord has compassion on those who fear him;
for he knows how we are formed,
he remembers that we are dust.
The life of mortals is like grass,
they flourish like a flower of the field;
the wind blows over it and it is gone,
and its place remembers it no more.
But from everlasting to everlasting
the Lord’s love is with those who fear him,
and his righteousness with their children’s children—
with those who keep his covenant
and remember to obey his precepts.
- Psalm 103:13-18
Jesus answered, “Very truly I tell you, no one can enter the kingdom of God unless they are born of water and the Spirit. Flesh gives birth to flesh, but the Spirit gives birth to spirit. You should not be surprised at my saying, ‘You must be born again. The wind blows wherever it pleases. You hear its sound, but you cannot tell where it comes from or where it is going. So it is with everyone born of the Spirit.”.
- John 3:5-8
The other day, my wife felt depressed. I suggested that we could take a drive somewhere to exhaust the cabin fever, but my wife was not enthused. So, I suggested that we go out to breakfast. I needed medicines from the wholesale warehouse store, and she needed to do some grocery shopping. That limited where we could go for breakfast without adding a lot of miles to the trip. We settled for a modern trendy breakfast/lunch eatery. We were not the only old folks in the place, but we were the only old folks who had to wait outside the restaurant for a table. Their fifteen-minute wait ended twenty minutes later, not too bad. But there were 15-20 people standing outside the door visiting with friends crowded next to each other as if to do a group hug. Thinking of my old Army days and the standard cruel joke about such gatherings, “One hand grenade and I could get all of them…”
The only people in this crowd who wore a mask were my wife and I. I had to steal a chair from those eating outdoors, because my wife was about to collapse from exhaustion.
I have seen a commercial twice and I have only halfway paid attention once, usually with the TV muted. It says that “Fred” wears his mask for “Wilma.” “Wilma” wears her mask for “Barney.” “Barney” wears his mask for “Betty.” … Yes, whenever I think of “random” names, my brain goes to Bedrock and the Flintstones, but you get the idea. We do not wear a mask for our own protection, since they are not highly effective for that, but we wear the mask in case we are unknowingly sick, and we could spread the germs. It is a courtesy, a sign of love and respect.
But this was outside. Does not the wind, as the Psalms Scripture above states, going to blow whatever we breathe out and spread it harmlessly over great distances?
Okay, hold that thought.
Fast forward a couple of days. My wife had an appointment with her cardiologist. He is my cardiologist too, but this was her solo appointment with me as her “responsible adult” or I would have to wait outside in the car. As a result, I got the only homework to do. I have been logging her blood sugar, blood pressure, pulse, and weight several times each day. The doctor wants me to basically do a data regression, reporting averages, highs, lows, my thoughts on stability (maybe using standard deviations) for those vital signs and report back to him in 2-3 weeks to decide if additional medication or medicine changes will be required. At the office visit, he cut her dosage of what she had been taking in half. Now we are flying blind until we have data. He is lucky that I know how to do such things.
But, before we saw him, I dropped my wife off at the front door while two other patients in their cars zoomed to the nearest handicap parking places. It did them no good, my wife was seen first. By the time I parked the car, got out my notebooks and such, and then forgetting and returning to the car for not hanging my handicap tag from the rearview mirror, one of the other cardiology patients had walked to the front door, walked back to the car and then to the front door again. This patient was a heavy smoker, probably going back to the car for more cigarettes. My thoughts were that she must be the cardiologist’s star patient or worst nightmare. Whatever he suggested, she would cancel with her next puff.
I am allergic to tobacco smoke. I am not just allergic, but tobacco smoke triggers an allergic reaction. Thus, I am almost guaranteed to have sinus problems or something worse as a result of a slight exposure. As I am writing this a day later, my nose is clogged; I am sneezing a lot; and my sinuses are draining so badly that others might think I have COVID. No temperature. No shortness of breath. Just a reaction to cigarette smoke in the air.
But we were outside the building? How could it have been such a bad effect? The wind patterns trapped the air right where this woman breathed them out. When I walked through the building’s front door, I nearly gagged, and she had been inside the building for over a minute by then.
That got me to thinking. This COVID virus does not immediately dissipate one second after you expel the germ. Our mask wearing is more of a courtesy to catch the unexpected cough.
But 15-20 people doing a group hug, or at least close enough to have done a group hug, and none of them wearing a mask, shows that people just do not care about their fellow man at all. Either that or they think themselves invincible. With all the young women having open midriffs to show off their abs, probably just having come from the gym around the corner from the restaurant, they were probably of that invincible crowd, maybe even the vacancy between the ears crowd as well… “Hey, let’s get some overpriced food that claims to be ‘healthy.’” “Ooooh, let’s!! And a double portion since we just burned off a few calories!!”
The greatest commandment, according to Jesus, is that we love God with all our soul, all our body, and all our mind. I might have the words wrong, but what I have here relates to the spiritual, the physical, and the intellectual. And the second greatest commandment is equal to the first, to love one another.
Protest if you must when forced to wear a mask but wear the mask anyway to show even the slightest effort toward loving those around you.
Soli Deo Gloria. Only to God be the Glory.