These masks are not what has been separating us… not these masks.

It's the masks we wore before.

(And by "separating" I don't mean from showing up to work or church or
restaurants together… I mean separating us from truly connecting deeply,
knowing, appreciating, accepting one another… and separating us from that same
love and acceptance and appreciation for ourselves — the real us.)

When these Covid masks come off, the old ones will remain. But the old masks
can come off, too.

I believe Covid — as difficult as it's been — has presented us with a unique
opportunity for healing in the places necessary for truly connecting.

Connecting — with each other, with ourselves, with our world, with God —
requires being here.

We've struggled with being here for a long while. But we've actually taken
some steps toward being here over the past year. Painful steps. Good steps.

The first step to being here was to slow down… and here we are. Many (not all)
of us have listened and slowed down.

We must keep listening! There is more to hear…

I believe we are now being invited to begin to open our eyes — to look around,
not at the past or the future, but at what, and who, is right here.

There is a lot here, and there are lots of reasons for protecting ourselves
from much of it. Lots of undigested pain, fear, uncertainty.

But these things are here, nonetheless. WE are here, nonetheless.

We are here.

I feel hopeful: these masks will come off soon. But I believe we've been
prepped this year for the removal of our older, fuller masks — the ones that
have kept us separated and fragmented. I believe that Covid (whether it wanted
to or not!) has actually helped open a door for us to wholeness.