By Ashley Gilliland
This world is in a crisis moment. My life has not been impacted by this novel virus much beyond some new inconveniences, but I know that isn't true for many others. Recently our country marked the 100,000th death from Covid-19. 100,000 people made in the image of God have now succumbed to this virus. 100,000 families are in mourning over their loved ones. This is such a heartbreaking situation. I know I'm mostly surrounded by people that, statistically, would likely recover from a SARS-CoV-2 infection. However, I also know that is not the case for everyone. I know many people are caring for elderly relatives or immunocompromised loved ones. I know many nurses, doctors, pharmacists, and other hospital staff are in a very high-stress environment everyday thanks to this virus. As a follower of Christ, I have been trying to find ways to serve during this time. Beyond prayer and keeping in touch with my people, it's hard to know what to do as a non-healthcare worker to help this broken world right now.
Since I know that contact with other people could be dangerous for them, there are not many ways to tangibly love others in this moment. I am not currently sick, but I know I could be infected and asymptomatic. I definitely don't want to take any chances right now; therefore, I am choosing to wear a mask when I am out. This is how I am loving my neighbor. I do not enjoy having half of my face covered up. I wear glasses and they're not very compatible with masks. It's hot outside and my face gets sweaty easily. The mask I have hurts my ears after wearing it for a while. Regardless of these (minor) issues, I will continue to wear a mask until healthcare professionals and scientists revoke that advice. I want to do my part to prevent the spread of this virus because so many others will be negatively impacted if it gets out of hand. As a Christian, I firmly believe that others’ lives matter so much more than my comforts. Because I've seen what sacrificial love looks like in Christ, who willingly gave up so many of His rights for me, I want to willingly give up my rights to serve others whenever I can. Wearing a mask is such a small way for me to show others that I care about them. It's a way for me to show my high risk neighbors that I want them to stay healthy. It's a way to show the elderly people in my life that I don't think they're expendable. It's a way for me to show my healthcare worker friends that I am thankful for their sacrifices and don't want to make their lives harder than they already are. Basically, it's a way for me to live out the Gospel right now in this strange, socially-distant time. I don't know what the end of this weird season will look like, but I do know I don't want to look back and think I wasted this time or lived carelessly. I want to know that I lived out the Gospel to a scared and anxious world, and putting on a mask is one easy way I can do that.