By Daniel Thomas, CGS Musician
Over the last couple of weeks we have watched our economy begin to “open” again - more stores welcoming customers inside, restaurants serving people, workers returning to offices - and I have felt a mixture of hope and dread. Hope because, for every milestone we reach in re-opening, we get that much closer to my theatre producing shows once again (and providing jobs to dozens of artists); and dread that, if society does not reopen in a safe, prudent, and cautious manner, we could find ourselves moving backwards - more sickness, more death - and those milestones (and the theatre’s re-opening) get moved further away.
Personally, I have not felt any great rush to return to “normal” (other than finally getting a haircut in my sister-in-law’s backyard). As much as I want to get back to doing what I love (and what provides income for my family), the desire for my family, my community, and the world to keep safe and healthy takes precedent. And so, I continue to limit my trips away from home. I wear my mask, I wash and wash and wash my hands, we wipe down our groceries before we put them away. They are the smallest of inconveniences to provide some measure of prevention and safety for all those with whom I come in contact.
The other day I went to the grocery store, and I was amazed to see the number of people about - strolling, shopping, socializing, eating at restaurants - and I was dismayed at the number of them not wearing masks. Was it defiance? Was it annoyance? Was it apathy? How could people so easily forgo something so simple, and yet so protective to those around them? Have we grown so soft, so complacent that three months is the limit of “suffering” that we can handle?
Meanwhile, all around us, millions of voices are being raised against centuries of suffering at the hands of the privileged. All around us, thousands of people are suffering in plain sight due to economic hardship or mental and emotional anguish. All around us, people are suffering from life-threatening illnesses or incapacitations. We live in a world where suffering is real and present. And yet, the idea of being “told” to wear a mask - to prevent additional suffering for oneself, or those around - incites such wailing and gnashing of teeth among some people one would think they have been told to remove their arms and submit them as tribute.
Loving thy neighbor can be immensely difficult sometimes. Wearing a mask should not be. Protect yourself, protect those you love, protect your neighbors. I can not wait to be with all my friends, family, and communities in person once again. But if it means maximizing the health and safety of those people, then wait I shall. It is the least I can do for those I love.=
Christ the Good Shepherd
Various editorials, articles, and other items of interest.