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Life in the Time of Corona

Why Wear Masks

John Gibson

John Gibson is the author of three novels: Patriot Victory, Painkiller, and Soul Sprints – the latter of which won the Grand Prize in the 2018 Words Matter Publishing Holiday Book Contest; and one work of poetry, titled Arduous Vales. You can learn more about him and his work at and find him on Facebook (“John W. Gibson, Author”).

This is a question that has caused, since the outbreak of COVID-19, no small amount of controversy – not to mention a few violent incidents – in virtually every imaginable cultural arena that we know.

As I look at how things are unfolding in our world today, it seems that amidst all of the disagreement and consternation of how masks work, or whether or not they even work to begin with, something has gotten lost as we’ve grappled with COVID-19 in the year 2020. So if you’ll permit me, I’d like to briefly turn our attention to something (someone, really) that we seem to be missing, who can serve as a reminder about why wearing masks is important.

Imagine for a moment a 90-year-old great-grandmother with a compromised immune system. She is scared to death that she may contract the virus and not have a chance to hug her loved ones one last time before being whisked away to a hospital, quite possibly to live out her final days attached to a ventilator. Suppose she happens to see you wearing a mask – whether in person walking through downtown Pensacola, or even through media of some kind (e.g. – your picture on WEAR 3 evening news).

To her, that mask means more than just a sign of our times, or even as a potentially effective way to stem the spread of COVID-19. That mask on your face is sending a message to her, and the message is essentially this: “I see you. I know your fears. They are valid, regardless of what my personal persuasion about masks maybe; how safe they keep us, how uncomfortable they are, etc. Therefore, because I care about you, and your sense of safety, I will wear this mask.”

I get it. Masks are uncomfortable. I hate mine. I’ll even be candid and say that I’ve questioned at times just how effective they may be in stopping the spread of germs. At the same time, though, I’ll still wear mine because of what it communicates to those around me who may be at highest risk, regardless of how efficacious the mask may or may not be.

Micah 6:8 reads, “He [God] has shown you, O man, what is right. And what does the Lord require of you but to do justice, to love kindness, and to walk humbly with your God.”

In the final analysis, it’s really not even about the masks: rather, it’s about walking humbly and loving and showing kindness to our neighbors – in the Florida panhandle and beyond – in a challenging time.

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