You Should Care

Being asked or told to wear a mask is not trampling your rights. It’s asking you to do what you always should have done in the first place: care about people…

Real strength has to do with helping others.

Fred Rogers

Are you tired?

I am very, very tired.

No, it’s not my twin three year old boys with all their crazy energy. No, it’s not my husband recovering from a near-fatal encounter with sepsis last month. No, it’s not working for the Gospel in a conflict-ridden world. Though all three have their moments that make me weary and worn, that is not the fatigue to which I am referring.

I am tired of people politicizing whether or not people should care about each other.

It is not a political issue. Stop making it one.

It is a human issue. It is a faith issue. And, since I am a Christian minister, it is a Jesus issue.

Actively caring about our fellow human beings is our job as humans.

Full stop.

That’s it.

At the end of the day, everything else pales in comparison. Money, success, prestige, ambition, power, beauty – none even begin to compare.

It is our human right to live and breathe. To live free. And to thrive.

For far too long, in human history, we have intentionally chosen who deserves to be free to live and to thrive. We have systematically removed rights from humans that were born looking different than we do. Who were born with different realities. Who have this body part instead of that one. Freedom has long been denied to our neighbors of different race, sexualities, and genders – and that’s just talking about the differences we are born with in our bodies. That does not even mention the differences in thought, belief, and resources. Oh yes, we have a problem with keeping people from being truly free in this world.

But a little piece of cloth has nothing to do with your freedom. What is more, studies have shown that it has little to nothing to do with your safety.

That little piece of cloth has to do with your neighbor’s safety and their right to live and breath, to have freedom, and to thrive.

That little piece of cloth is a statement that you care as much about others as you do about yourself.

Of course, there are some who are facing real health issues – from COPD to PTSD – who should not be forced to wear a mask. That is reasonable.

The problem is, there are far more people not wearing masks than those who legitimately shouldn’t. There are far more people more concerned with their comfort than another’s life – because, again, that mask does not protect you. It protects everyone around you.

And yes, this is a very personal issue to me. My husband is extremely high risk. He already nearly died three weeks ago of something else. If you expose me, then you expose him. If you expose my children, you expose my husband and me (with my own moderate to severe asthma). If you expose my nanny, you expose all of us – and remember that children and healthy people are still being brutally maimed by this virus that we do not fully understand.

I am tired of people not caring.

I am tired of people telling me that I am afraid for no reason, when we’ve lost over 165,000 people in this country alone – with some amount of mitigation. Those numbers would have likely quadrupled if we had done nothing these last six months.

This is not a hoax. It is serious. Deadly serious. And life-long maiming serious (because this disease appears to be more dangerous to those who survive than to those who do not).

Required discomfort to help out your neighbor is not the same thing as having your rights trampled. Having your rights trampled is being held at gunpoint  when you were the one originally in danger. Having your rights trampled is being run over by cars and hit with tear gas (which is a war crime) when you are using your right to protest that people’s rights are not being upheld. Having your rights trampled is dying in your own bed at the hands of those who should be protecting you when you did absolutely nothing – and then to have your killers never be brought to justice.

Being asked or told to wear a mask is not trampling your rights. It’s asking you to do what you always should have done in the first place: care about people.

So wear the piece of cloth. Care about your neighbors – because, yet again, that mask protects them. Not you. It is not about you.

It is about all of us surviving this with as much health as possible. Only then can we truly live and breathe fully. Only then can we continue to fight for freedom. Only then can we find the flourishing that God desires.

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