Wear a Mask

Anne Swayze
(A person I admire sent me this text) 
Wear a mask. Eat red licorice. 
The message traveled over 3,000 miles, from coast to coast, and as I nodded in agreement, I also smiled because I knew the sender was correct. And he knew me. 

We are climbing Everest; we are swimming across the English Channel; we are leaping off a jagged cliff with merely a wingsuit and constantly checking our air tanks as we dive deeper and deeper into the unknown. 

We have faced and at moments conquered challenges that no one could have imagined twenty months ago. Every time the COVID pitcher throws us a new curveball, we, the batters, hold our ground, dig our cleats into the dirt, look squarely into the pitcher’s eyes, raise our bat, and swing like no one and everyone is watching. 

But, instead of retreating, we are doing what we need to do to stay healthy, to keep our schools open, to protect our aging parents, to support our community businesses, and to care for and celebrate our health care workers. 

We understand when our book clubs, church services, and family gatherings make the painstaking decision to meet virtually or, in some instances, decide they cannot meet at all. We intellectually understand when the layers of concern turn into heightened anxiousness, and we navigate courageous conversations with friends and family whose choices are different than our own. 

Planning for a month, six months, a year out is almost impossible. We don’t know what is in store. We can speculate and imagine, but like a baseball game, your team can be down by three at the bottom of the ninth, and then your batter steps up to the plate, the bases are loaded, and BAM they connect for a home run that brings not one but two, three, four runs in to win the game. So there is hope, real hope. 

Don’t dismay. Stay strong. Do your part. 

And listen to the guy who sent me the text. Wear a mask. Eat licorice. And, if I can take some editorial liberties: Call your brother.