Summer was a reprieve. Social distancing and mask wearing were in the rearview mirror as we drove to concerts and sporting events. Washing and drying masks above the bathroom vent was no longer part of my evening routine.
I lost track of my masks except the “back-up” masks hanging on my office lamp. Light blue masks (bless their little paper hearts) seemed like a remnant of a dark tunnel we all travelled through, holding our breath until we reached the light of summer.
Summer 2021 was a breath of fresh air, but now a Delta tunnel seems to be on the horizon. The number of infected persons continues to rise in Indiana and many adjacent states. COVID-19 continues to adapt and infect loved ones. Sigh.
I may need to find my masks.
Full disclosure: I hate wearing masks. My face is narrow. I tried masks of different sizes and shapes, and few masks fit my face like the image on the wrapper. Additionally, I wear glasses often. Masks fog up the bottom third of my lenses. Moist lenses are annoying. However, the real reason that I hate wearing masks is that I am vain. As a bearded person, masks give me a “beard dent.” No matter how much I fluff my beard, the dent following the curve of the mask remains long after I remove it. A dented beard compromises what others think of me.
Taylor University is returning to a full campus experience. One of the marks of our intentional community is our care for others. We are guided by a critical document called the “Life Together Covenant.” Read those words again: Life. Together. Covenant. We have commitments to God, one another and our personal walk with Christ as we live together. In doing so, we are called to love one another, to strive consciously to maintain relationships that support, encourage and build up one another, make allowances for one another and come alongside those experiencing grief, discouragement, illness, tragedy or other personal trials. We are called to align ourselves with one another.
Here is my request: When you leave your room or come to campus, bring a mask.
Like me, you may hate wearing a mask because it gives you a “beard dent,” or maybe you fundamentally disagree with wearing a mask. Whatever your reason for not wearing a mask, aligning ourselves with someone or somewhere that calls us to wear a mask is critical to our life together. You may need to align with a friend in a car, with a faculty in a classroom or a co-worker at The Bean. Whatever the reason, aligning yourself with someone else may be part of your call in our life together.
In the end, bringing a mask is admitting that you may need to set aside your preferences for a fluffy beard because it is a Taylor University method to align yourself with someone else.