To Mask, or Not to Mask

I went to town to do some scanning and returning of final exams from the Foundations Class that finished this week. (Yes, the class ‘Foundations of the Science of Mind’ still has a final exam, and everybody who took it passed with flying colors.) We’ve been meeting online, on Zoom, for about a month; it’s worked fairly well. Those of you who have taken Foundations remember that sweet feeling of camaraderie and community that arises when you spend weeks and weeks sharing with other people, and you discover we’re all pretty much the same. We have similar sorts of worries, struggles, doubts and fears, so we can relate to each other, and feel strong family-like connections with this unique and special subset of humanity. The students were sad the class was ending because they’ve gotten so close with each other over these many weeks.

While I was in town, I figured I’d stop at the Trader Joe’s closest to the office to pick up some supplies I’d run out of, and some fresh daffodils. Trader Joe’s instituted the wait-outside-the-store-line earlier than most of the other retail spaces in town, and so I wasn’t surprised to see a line. I was a little surprised to see such a long line. The TJ’s crewmember who had been tasked with managing the line was in conversation with an older fellow who was belligerently not wanting to stand exactly on the blue line which demarcated the 6-ft distance between prospective customers. Eventually the older man complied, because (I’m guessing here) he decided he wanted access to the store more than he wanted to argue with ‘the kid’. So we stood there a while, not too terribly long. Being my mother’s daughter (We used to tease her, saying that she could have a delightful conversation with a fencepost), I attempted to strike up a conversation with the fellow behind me in line. His face, what I could see of it behind his mask, was dour. I said something innocuous and bright, like how nice it was to be standing in the shade on this warm, sunny day. His reply, ‘Why are we doing this?’, left me nearly speechless and I responded with, ‘There are so many answers to that question running through my mind.’

Last week, I was again standing in a line, waiting to go into JoAnn’s. I needed thread to finish some projects. Many of the people who were in line were buying supplies to make masks for friends, family members or to give away to medical or care facilities. The camaraderie of this line was quite different from the one at TJ’s. Even though we were primarily standing in the sun, the mostly older crowd was quite chatty, sharing bits and pieces of their lives. The workers who came out of the store to talk with line-standers-like-me were answering questions about the availability of elastic, bias tape, Velcro and interfacing. Eventually, after about 80 minutes, I got my turn in the store, picked up my half dozen spools of thread and was out again double-quick, freeing up the space for the mask-makers in line/behind me to gain access. While this was a much longer and slower moving line, it was much more enjoyable.

During one of the daily spiritual practices last week, I read a paragraph from Ernest Holmes’ 365 Science of Mind (p.116) that was impactful to several individuals on the video-call. It read, ‘Our lives and experiences may well be likened to a river. If we stand on the bank of a river and watch it flow by, we become aware that the river never changes, but that its content is always new. By analogy, we might say the purposeful dynamic quality of life within us never changes, but the content of our experience of living never remains the same.’

‘The purposeful dynamic quality of life’, our point of view in how we see ourselves, the Divine, and others, is completely under our control. Our Essence, as the Foundations students learned, is Divine. We are made of, and for, Life, Love, Light, Peace, Poise, Power, Joy…. Whether we choose to remember that, and act from that place of wholeness, and holiness, is entirely up to us. The content of our experiences, how we engage with individuals, big ideas, situations or circumstances will vary moment-to-moment. Each one of us is always at choice how we see ourselves, our situations and others, and how we respond to, and engage with, life.

–Rev Janis

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