I have missed those wonderful happy smiles for well over a year now, but never forgot them. The smiles that have been hidden behind the masks with no way to observe their happiness. Although you might think I am referring to physical face masks, I am talking about masks of fear and oppression. It was as if a dark cloud of fear and loneliness descended down over the whole world last spring making it very challenging for people to experience joy.
Last spring was the onset of a year of strife for every country of this world. The Covid19 virus was troublesome enough, but the restrictions and rules that isolated us seemed to be as difficult or worse than the virus itself. God created us in His image, and in doing so He created us to love others. When we are isolated from others, it can cause us to to be sad and lonely. If we already have a weak spirit, it can cause deep depression and anxiety. Many people experienced this depression and disparity by being cut off from others.
When we were allowed to be with other people, we were told to “social distance” and wear masks. The distancing and masks caused a since of mistrust between people. Instead of holding the door open for someone with a smile and a greeting, people felt more inclined to just open the door for only themselves and not make eye contact with anyone near them. I observed people keeping their distance from each other and looking down at the ground instead of making conversation. It was awkward if you did have a conversation with anyone as their voice was muffled which made it difficult to hear them. I can only imagine how people with hearing impairments must have felt. They could no longer read the lips of those speaking to them so it was if they could not communicate with anyone at all.
Covid19 did take the lives of many just as major sicknesses often do. For those families who lost loved ones there was definitely distress and sadness. However, many of these people had to die alone because their families were not allowed to be with them. People died alone of many reasons because the hospital and nursing home visitations were non-existent. Grief had become a part of so many people’s every day life. When a person passed from this world, there was no longer large groups of family and friends to gather and comfort their loved ones. Instead there were people with no funerals or services at all, or “drive by” services. God gave us the ability to comfort one another. Jesus said, “Blessed are those that mourn, for they will be comforted (Matthew 5:4).”
It is nice to start seeing those smiles once again. Yes, the CDC is now removing some of the recommendations for wearing masks and states and businesses are now following. So, now we can literally see the smiles of our neighbors’ faces once more. However, it will take a little longer for everyone to have their spirits smile again like they once did. Yes, Christians with a strong faith may have retained their happiness and joy, but no one can tell me that this last year did not at least damper their joy in some effect. It is those people that have hibernated completely from the world and don’t have our Savior Jesus Christ in their life that have suffered the most. It will take these people longer to come out of hibernation and trust people again.
Look for those that may be still having a troubled spirit. Show them your smile and your light that only Jesus can shine. Be patient with these same people if they seem a little less than polite. It has been a rough year for most of us and some people need others to lift them up. They need us to share our story of Jesus with them and share the gospel. True happiness and joy only comes from accepting Jesus as our Savior and loving God the Father. The smiles on your face without the mask covering it and the smile in your spirit are more important than you think.