Wearing the Masks of Freedom and Love

Meditations in Motion

I took my first Body Pump class since March this week.

This class was different than the last time. A limited number of participants set up equipment on spaces taped on the floor to maintain social distancing. We wiped down the weights with disinfectant before and after class (they were also sterilized each morning by gym employees). We brought mats from home, rather than using the gym’s mats. We wore masks while setting up and tearing down.

The class went well. I thought I would have to back off on the weights I used due to my long layoff so I was conservative when selecting equipment, but I felt gooooood.

Until the next day.

I felt like a train hit me. Delayed onset muscle soreness is real and it is painful. “I am hobbling around like an old lady,” I thought. Then, “Wait…I am an old lady!

It is always surprising to me, for some reason, when I realize I am the oldest person in the room, in the race, in the class.

Fitness activities have kept me in decent shape but I still have an old immune system that has been taxed many times from years of close contact with germy teenagers.

When I was teaching and running marathons, it seemed as though I got every illness that came down the pike. Putting in high training miles each week lowered my resistance.

In 2009, on the Friday before the Marine Corps Marathon, I got the Swine Flu (H1N1). I had to bail on the race. (I finally ran it for the first time in 2018.)

In 2010, one week before the Colorado Marathon, I developed bronchitis. I ran the race anyway.

It got to the point where I would not accept items students were trying to hand me in the days leading up to a big race. “Put it on my desk,” I would tell students attempting to submit an assignment. “Keep it,” I would say to kids wanting to return a borrowed pencil.

It got to the point where my doctor remarked, “Bronchitis is kind of your thing, isn’t it? You seem to get it every year.” Twice my yearly bronchitis morphed into pneumonia.

Meditations in MotionI can’t even imagine teaching in the age of COVID.

Here is the thing about my former students: they did the best they could to try to prevent the spread of germs, not only to protect me but also in consideration of their fellow classmates.

Really.

We went through gallons of hand sanitizer, cartons of tissues, cases of hand soap. We coughed and sneezed into the crooks of our elbows. We washed our hands like maniacs. We stayed home if we felt sick.

It didn’t matter. Germs are sneaky.

They have evolved to develop novel strategies to infect new victims.

I got sick anyway.

Meditations in MotionThere is one weapon in our prevention arsenal now, however, that was not widely used when I taught school: the face mask.

A few weeks ago, my family doctor, who is my age and a devout Christian, posted what I considered an innocuous missive on Facebook. In it, she admonished readers to take some simple precautions against spreading COVID-19 such as frequent hand washing, social distancing, frequently disinfecting often touched items, and wearing a mask in public.

Well.

I was completely unprepared for the invective she received in the comment section of her post.

You would have thought she asked her social media friends to lock themselves up in a maximum-security prison and survive on bread and water for the rest of their lives.

I was impressed and pleased that she did not defend her statements one bit. She allowed the haters’ fury to blow itself out without responding even one word to their insults.

Then I saw this sign on the door of our local bookstore:

Meditations in Motion

Yes, in this country we have freedom, we have rights, but our rights end when they infringe on the health and safety of others.

We have rights, but we also have responsibilities. When did we forget the responsibility side of the equation?

Our love of freedom causes us to make wise choices to keep each other safe.

Our freedom engenders concern and compassion. Our freedom gives us strength, not weakness. Our freedom makes us bold. Our freedom gives us dignity. Our freedom causes us to protect the most vulnerable among us. Our freedom generates in us the desire to do the right thing.

Our freedom prompts us to wear a mask.

There is no politics about it, only science. Wearing a mask will save lives but only if we all do it.

I don’t wear a mask to protect myself; I wear it to protect you.

I wear it out of a sense of freedom, and of responsibility, and of love.

It’s the least I can do.

For God did not give us a spirit of cowardice, but rather a spirit of power and of love and of self-discipline. – 2 Timothy 1:7

 

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87 comments

  1. I saw something the other day that said something like “I believe in my human rights, but I believe in breathing more.” I haven’t done a pump class in a couple of years but I can still remember day 2 after the first one back. My daughter does a few a week but they’re definitely different under the age of covid.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. I recall, Laurie, that when I taught, I’d come down with everything imaginable; sometimes, I could work through it, but other times, I simply had to stay home. I’m so very weary of people making everything, and I mean everything, political. We all have a right to our beliefs and our practices. How much better would it be if folks would state simply and kindly why they do what they think is right, and not berate the person who thinks differently. The cancel culture and the hatred absolutely must be stopped if we are to maintain a civilized nation.
    Blessings!

    Liked by 1 person

    • I am so with you on the hatred, Martha. We need to find a way to come together. We don’t have to agree on everything but we do need to respect one another and take care of each other.

      Liked by 1 person

  3. Laurie, this whole ‘No Mask’ crusade highlights selfishness and has little to do with freedom. You very eloquently made the case for why compassionate people do not think twice about a little inconvenience. Personally, I wear my mask to protect myself as well as others. It is simply the right thing to do.

    Liked by 3 people

  4. Well said as always Laurie. I don’t wear a mask to protect myself…I wear it because “everyone” needs to wear a mask so that the one person in a crowd who has it doesn’t pass it on. This pandemic is not going to last forever but while it’s here this is quite literally the least that all of us can do.

    Liked by 1 person

  5. The backlash aimed at your doctor was awful. I wonder about the age of the commenters. We older people were taught to be responsible, but that is no longer true of many in younger generations. Society has changed, and not for the better, in my opinion.

    The sign in your local bookstore is a stark reminder that there are uncaring people among us. What a shame!

    Liked by 1 person

  6. An excellent post, Laurie!! We are only asked to do a few very simple things to keep ourselves and our fellow human beings safe! I don’t understand all the hatefulness that concept generates! Thank you for having the courage to make your point, and for having the compassion, love, understanding, and social responsibility to do the right things to protect others! ❤

    Liked by 1 person

  7. Eww, I always brought my own mat, and if you ever saw me take the 30 minute HIIT class I used to take when I worked at the Y, you might think twice about using their mats as well. When I was done with my class, everything was drenched in sweat. My clothes, the mat, the floor around the mat. I’m just a sweaty, disgusting dude, but I’m a good example of why some gym equipment shouldn’t be shared. — I’m beyond sick of the freedom excuse for not wearing masks. If you tried to tally the ways your life is affected by regulations you’d be in the thousands by lunch time. I made that stat up, but seriously, everything about the home you live in, the gym you go to, the grocery where you bought Gatorade, the Gatorade itself, everything is governed by building codes, safety codes, food handling codes etc, etc. Imaging if the US was trying to implement a seat belt law in today’s environment. Of course if Trump gets another shot at ruining our country, he’ll keep dismantling regulations and continue to make the US a more dangerous place.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Yes, I can definitely see how yucky it is to use the gym mats. Now. I agree with you about the codes, Jeff. And those codes are there for a reason – to protect us. When people start spouting off about getting rid of government regulations, I think the same thing. “Those regulations are there for a reason.”

      Liked by 1 person

  8. Well written, and well stated. I think to of the story of Namaan in 2nd Kings, who was asked to wash in the Jordan, 7x. to cure his leprosy. I know you know the story. he was furious. And the wise servant said, but Master, if you had been asked to do something more complicated, wouldn’t you have done it? I think of that story often. Thanks for sharing this. Blessings, Michele

    Liked by 2 people

    • I am reading through the Old Testament (again) and JUST read the story of Namaan last night. I never got the similarities between that story and the simple act of wearing a mask, but you are right. I guess that’s why you are the pastor! 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

  9. You had a good group of students and I remember you’ve often said how much you enjoyed teaching and that’s something not every teacher could say when teaching high school students who often are sarcastic, rude or want to be the class clown. As to the masks, we have had rebellions at the state Capitol about wearing masks and our limited rights when more businesses were shut down – college kids play sports and suddenly can’t and have filed a lawsuit. There are big gatherings on the water with no social distancing or masks … no one cares as long as they can have a good time. It seems the entire nation is selfish and/or railing at one another and it just has to stop.

    Liked by 1 person

    • I was lucky over the years – I really did have a great group of students. You did have to be able to love them warts and all and make up your mind early in the year to do just that.

      I don’t understand why people rebel. The sooner we all wear masks and social distance, the sooner the pandemic will fizzle out. If no one is available as a “host”, the virus won’t have anywhere to go.

      Liked by 1 person

      • You have mentioned your students and the rapport with them before – special teacher remain in our hearts for a long time. I kept in touch with the French teacher I had my first two years in college long after I left the community college and went on to finish my last two years at a university.

        I hope that people will somehow see the wisdom, wake up to the benefits so we may be able to get on a faster track to recovery. I was at the Park the other day and a new walker came over and asked how I can tolerate the mask? I said it’s not a problem, just wear it and I feel a little safer though masks aren’t required outdoors. He groused about it – he had a beard. I reminded him that perhaps that was the reason and perhaps he should consider shaving it as it might be a magnet for attracting COVID germs. He just looked at me. 🙂 I still have not gotten my eyeglasses which were ordered, along with the anti-fog spray … hopefully it comes in before Winter so I can test it and pass along the info to Bill.

        Liked by 1 person

      • Here in Grand Rapids, Michigan today, a local news team discovered many postal sorting machines in back of a P.O. building, in an alleyway. Their electrical cords were cut and they were in a state of disrepair – some local residents said they saw dumpsters filled to the brim with P.O. sorting equipment over several days.

        Liked by 1 person

  10. I’m a nurse and I say bravo to you. I agree wholeheartedly. I had to sit through lunch with one of our friends while he went on about how it’s his right to take risks with his health. I explained as patiently as I could that by not following the rules re. social distancing, using hand sanitiser and filling out the contact form if you eat in a restaurant, he’s actually putting many people at risk. Including me. People who have comorbidities that put them at greater risk of dire health consequences are the ones that have to bear the burden of other people who don’t take it seriously. Stay safe, regards Christina

    Liked by 1 person

  11. Hi Laurie – I’m so grateful that covid is a bit of a non-event where I am. We have no cases at all (besides a few returned travellers in hotel quarantine). So no masks etc – just hand sanitising and social distancing. Despite that, we’re only one idiot away from a second wave, so I’ve bought masks for my husband and myself to have on standby in case we need them.
    I used to be a dental hygienist in the pre-mask and pre-gloves (pre HIV) days – it was normal……now it’s not and you wouldn’t dream of going to a dentist who didn’t use a mask and gloves – times change and we need to change with them – for our own protection and the protection of others.

    Liked by 1 person

  12. May people listen to you. I really struggle to understand where this anti-mask lunacy comes from. Someone–I think it was a long-ago Supreme Court justice–said, “My rights end where the other fellow’s nose begins.” Maybe we could start thinking about community as much as we think about our individual rights. Both matter.

    Liked by 1 person

  13. Thank you Laurie …so well said. I hope it reaches some people that aren’t yet convinced of this simple truth. Although for me it is preaching to the choir, it is much appreciated as validation (and maybe words to borrow when I encounter “unbelievers.” ). We are grateful to be retired … he has said the same thing you did …can’t imagine teaching in this pandemic.

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  14. I agree, I don’t like wearing a mask, but it is a small thing to do to help protect other people. And I’m glad you got back to your Body Pump class. It looks like fitness classes might start back here mid-September so I’m looking forward to that.

    Liked by 1 person

    • I don’t like wearing a mask either, but I do it out of concern for others. It’s a small sacrifice to make! Here’s hoping your numbers are down so you can go back to fitness classes if you want to!

      Liked by 1 person

  15. Oh yes, delayed muscle soreness is definitely a real thing! I don’t mind that soreness if it’s mild but hate when it’s so much that I feel like I shouldn’t have worked out.

    Liked by 1 person

  16. Yes to all of this, Laurie. “We have rights, but we also have responsibilities. When did we forget the responsibility side of the equation? Our love of freedom causes us to make wise choices to keep each other safe.”

    I’m about to travel with three friends for a few days away, so we agreed to each quarantine for 2 weeks prior to our trip a little more than we normally do, to protect each other when we do get together. We are doing it out of love and respect. Sure, i’s a little inconvenient (I’m not seeing my kids for these two weeks), but it’s what love looks like. Sometimes it requires sacrifice. And that’s okay. Blessings to you for saying these things!

    Liked by 1 person

  17. Here in Victoria Australia masks are compulsory unless you have a medical condition – with paperwork or a runner/jogger . I stay away from runners…I have seen the sweet coming off their bodies and their mouth open with all the saliva oozing out…over dramatic…maybe but if I can get an exemption but wont due to health then a jogger can wear a mask..or dont jog. Some do and I say thank you as they go past me walking. We are on strict lockdown exercise for an hour outside and shopping once a day if you must but only one person from the house can go. I have been wearing masks since late March. The wearing of masks compulsory has been in for over 2 weeks. There is a $200 fine if caught without one. Shops can refuse you entry. Gosh I miss my gym…I have never used the mats at the gym. I have seen people on the running machines drip sweat all over the mat etc and just walk off. When our gyms opened for a short time here every second machine was shut off. We had to wipe everything down. before and after. You know some of these things I hope will continue, I think we have got a bit slack on everything with cleaning, washing hands etc. Hope your body forgives you and lets you get back to another session. #SeniSal

    Liked by 1 person

    • Masks are compulsory here too but no one checks to make sure everyone is wearing them. I think anyone with a medical condition that prevents mask-wearing should get a face shield. Even our strictest lockdown was never as strict as the one you describe. That’s what we need.

      Liked by 1 person

      • Yes a face shield would be good unfortunately they are only for our medical workers. We should have had a strict lockdown in the beginning…of course we also had a few security breaches with quarantine. People going out positive and exercising or going to the shops with the security guards at the hotels…there is an enquiry going on right now.

        Liked by 1 person

  18. Well stated, Laurie. A mask is now part of my essentials when going outside (keys, phone, wallet, mask). Thanks for linking up with us on this Wellness Weekend. Have a wonderful week! #WW2020

    Liked by 1 person

  19. I totally agree with you Laurie on the mask issue. I’m also glad, in some ways, that my husband and I are no longer teaching. I am concerned for all teachers who take their job seriously and worry about their students’ well being. Masks are recommended here in Aus but not mandatory in all states (yet), but I have mine ready for when I’m in situations where social distancing is problematic. I too have been amazed by the backlash to this issue, and saddened. #lifethisweek

    Liked by 1 person

  20. Wearing a mask is such a simple thing to do to help all of us. And it’s not like those who can’t are being forced to so …it’s bizarre. Is this really the first time people have had to think about the greater good and just can’t cope?

    Liked by 1 person

    • I think those who truly can’t wear a mask for medical reasons should wear a face shield or not be allowed in public places. We do need to consider the common good!

      Like

  21. Well said Laurie!
    There are those that are always looking for a fight or drama to be in, if there isn’t one they’ll create it as they thrive off the adrenaline rush from the drama.
    It’s a simple request, action & responsibility for our fellow man. I like msomerville2014 comment above!

    Here in my state of Australia certain shops won’t allow you in if you aren’t wearing a mask, with security guards policing it which I think is the way to go.
    Our hardest hit state here with CoVid, now in complete lock down has compulsory mask wearing, 5km radius for travel for essentials or arrest as many people are dying in that state!
    Although no where near the death rate of your nation.
    Bless you,
    Jennifer

    Liked by 1 person

    • I think you are right, Jennifer – some people are always looking for drama. Shops are not supposed to allow you in without a mask but in reality, that doesn’t always happen here. Maybe we need security guards. Our country is in deep trouble!

      Liked by 1 person

  22. No mask, no entrance here in El Paso, at most places. I accidentally went in to Walgreens last week while talking to my mom on the phone and forgot my mask! Horrors. I was surprised I wasn’t stopped at the door. Got a few sideways glances from customers and then realized what was wrong and ran back outside and got my mask. I was mortified that I had forgotten.

    The way I look at it, we do things like wear masks, social distance, wash and wash and wash our hands for ourselves but also for the greater good.

    Liked by 1 person

    • That’s the way it is SUPPOSED to be here too but it doesn’t always work out that way in reality. I accidentally forgot my mask at the gym once too. Same as you! It will take a while until we all get used to wearing them.

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  23. I’m amazed by the people who I know who find wearing a mask to be such an inconvenience. They rant on about it like teenagers looking for a reason to whine, instead of like adults who want to do the right thing. I don’t get it… at all.

    Liked by 1 person

  24. Great topic. Definitely controversial.

    I am very much pro-freedom. However, the whole mask thing has not rattled me one bit. I go in public, I wear it. Yes, I had been told that I was brainwashed. That I “gave in.” That, I am only condoning further restrictions. So far, it’s been keeping something I don’t like (other people’s germs) away from me. If, at the same time, I can do something to help others (so they don’t get sick), I call it a win.

    Now, I understand that some people have to wear those all day… I definitely would not want to be in their shoes and I might have a different opinion then. However, I am sad to say that those who are forced to wear a mask all day might actually be doing more harm than good because I see them doing things they should not be doing. For example, I continuously see people move their mask away from their face as they speak…

    Liked by 1 person

    • I am pro-freedom too. That’s why I wear a mask. I don’t have the right to deprive anyone else of their freedom. Wearing a mask doesn’t keep me safe, it protects all those whom I come in contact with so I don’t spread my germs. It’s the least I can do to protect others from the spread of the virus. I don’t want to be the reason for anyone else’s illness.

      Liked by 1 person

  25. JUST.WEAR.THE.MASK….is what our two person household is doing. In Australia, we have state-base health regulations for COVID19 depending on the severity of outbreaks and as another commenter wrote, Victoria is faring badly right now and under lockdown 4 rules. We, here in NSW, are asked/encouraged to wear masks, socially distance and practise hand hygiene. It seems simple to keep a horrid virus at bay but people arguing about rights have perhaps not seen an ICU filled with people on ventilators…Enough from me…great to know you are getting to do somethings you have missed. I keep a pile of disposable masks now, near my bag, to remind me!

    Thanks for linking up this week for #LifeThisWeek. Next week the optional prompt is 34/51 Self-Care Stories. #5. 24.8.2020 and I hope to see you there. Take care, Denyse.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Good for you and your hubby, Denyse. We wear masks here too but not all states require them. If they are not required, they are not worn. We found that out on our trip out West. Thank you for hosting. See you next week!

      Like

  26. Yes and amen! I don’t know why there’s such vitriol against wearing masks. My husband is a scientist and patiently explains to people how masks help. Even if people don’t agree, you’d think they’d just do their own thing and let others do theirs. I’ve had to “hide” people on FB, not because we disagreed–I can generally get along with people with whom I have disagreements. But because they’ve made a campaign of hate against mask advocates, blaming us for everything from setting us up for the mark of the beast to falling for political manipulation to dozens of other things. It’s not that hard a thing to ask.

    Liked by 1 person

    • I can’t understand the negative reactions towards masks either. Good for your husband! I have Hidden people on FB too. I just don’t need that kind of hate in my life. I don’t have to agree with everyone but to invite hate into my life is just not productive.

      Like

  27. Hello,

    Great post Laurie! I accept wearing the mask as much as I do wearing a seat belt in my car. Both are for safety reasons. I have no problem wearing the mask to protect others, I wish others would do the same.

    Liked by 1 person

  28. Hi Laurie, don’t you just love DOMS? It usually strikes me two days later, I try not to be overzealous when starting something new or upping the weights, but sometimes I get it wrong… I nodded my head throughout your post. For sure wearing a mask isn’t about giving up our freedom and I can’t think for the life of me why some people are so against it when it could save lives. It has made me see some people in a different light, which isn’t necessarily a bad thing. Know your enemy!

    xx

    Liked by 1 person

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