A city’s gradual emergence from the coronavirus shut down corresponds to a certain atmosphere in its airport. My husband and I took off our masks just long enough to eat subs at a socially distant table, and then, our masks back in place, we settled ourselves near Gate A-3 to wait out the remainder of a three-hour layover in Baltimore.
A pair of uniformed airline employees on their lunch break caught my eye. She, brown-eyed and animated; he, somber and attentive. It soon became obvious this was no business lunch. Their masked interaction at the corner of my eye distracted me from the book I was trying to read.
What in the world would it be like to date with mandatory masking? I wondered. Has Cosmo addressed this in an article yet? I smiled beneath my own mask as I invented titles and tag lines: “COVID-19 Mask Moves: Let Him Know You’re Interested!”
Drawn again to their soft laughter, I looked up just in time to see the young woman lower her mask, unveiling the full radiance of her dazzling smile. It seemed so intimate a gesture. I turned back to my book.
For the last several months, we have all been masked and hidden. We have stayed at home and protected ourselves and our loved ones from infection. At the same time, though, we have cloaked our disappointment as family events and our kids’ milestones have, one by one, been erased from our calendars. We have veiled our loneliness as weeks of lockdown started to make us forget how to function during a coffee date or a face-to-face conversation. We have pulled the curtains on our losses, either too big to put words around or too small to share when others are suffering so much.
Perhaps, in all our safe separation and invisibility, we have forgotten that there is One who sees all, and before Him, we are free to come with unveiled faces. Moses certainly understood what it was to meet face to face with God, but even so, his understanding of the ultimate significance of the Old Covenant under which he lived and labored was, at best, shadowy.
The believer, on the other hand, is privileged with unimpaired spiritual perception: the ability to see the glory of God revealed in Christ — an unobstructed view and an unbelievable freedom:
With that kind of hope to excite us, nothing holds us back. Unlike Moses, we have nothing to hide.
Everything is out in the open with us . . .
2 Corinthians 3:12 (MSG)
. . . or at least it can be, if we’re willing to take the risk.
Whether or not Moses’s veil and the veiled hearts of his Israelite traveling companions prove to be a helpful metaphor, my fogged glasses and my shallow breathing behind a mask testify to the limitations of veiled living. And this warns me of the dangers of damming up emotions, slamming the door on things I’d rather not deal with, and working hard to project an image that does not line up with the me that lives and breathes (and fails and falters) on this broken ground.
God invites us to enter into His presence and to embark upon an unveiled life. Even while we all stay safe behind our masks, we can choose to live with unveiled hearts. “Nothing between us and God,” urges Paul, “our faces shining with the brightness of his face” (2 Corinthians 3:17).
Your brave yes to God comes in everyday choices, both big and small:
- When, with no makeup and no fuss, you greet your friend at the door, with no thought for whatever may be pale or blotchy because you trust she’s come to be with the real you.
- When you raise your hand to volunteer for a job that feels too big, too exposed, but you do it because you believe you’ve been called — and He who calls is faithful (1 Thessalonians 5:24 NKJV).
- When tears flow because prayer is getting close to the bone, but you go there anyway, knowing that God has an unobstructed view of your heart — and you want a clearer view of His.
I have no idea how long we will be masked and socially distant for our physical safety, but this one thing I know for sure: hiding our hearts behind a veil, hiding our true selves from God and from others is the worst thing we can do for our spiritual health.
When we come to Christ, the veil is lifted. Our lives gradually become brighter, and we become more like Christ. The more we see and grow in our knowledge of God’s faithfulness, the more we will reveal the glory of Christ.
What area of your life do you hear the voice of the Spirit saying,
“Trust me here. Lower your mask. I see you.”?
God invites us to enter into His presence and to embark upon an unveiled life, where there's nothing between us and Him. -@MicheleDMorin: Click To Tweet