A Coronavirus Chronicle #14

Subtitle: I wear the mask, part 3

Jesus said, “The eye is the lamp of the body. So, if your eye is healthy, your whole body will be full of light, but if your eye is unhealthy, your whole body will be full of darkness” (Matthew 6.22-23a).

This biblical word may or may not have been the basis for that olden saying of uncertain provenance, “the eyes are the windows of the soul.” Nevertheless, for the longest time, I have put a great deal of emphasis on the eyes.

As a child, I remember my mother being able to determine my state of health by the look of my eyes; whether wide and bright, thus, well or narrowed and downcast in illness. To this day, on first rising, a mirrored gaze into my eyes is one measure of my sense of self.

And in countless conversations, I have gauged another’s and my own sincerity by our willingness to look each other in the eye.

And I have discerned the arrival of a supremely sensitive moment, one embracing those deeply human needs of acknowledgment and acceptance (and the fear of reproach and rejection), when, in naked vulnerability, another has (or I have) shared a painful memory, and then, falling silent, reflexively, unable to maintain eye-to-eye contact, we look away.

However, in these coronavirus-induced mask-wearing days, I have determined that I want, I need more than the eyes, which, though, perhaps, mirrors of the soul, do not, cannot represent the whole self.

I have been given a gift of facial-recognition. If we cross paths, even if we do not meet formally, it is likely that I will remember having seen you. Now, with your face masked, revealing only your eyes, I do not know what you look like. I am left to imagine your countenance. Your nose, broad or narrow, straight, arched, or crooked. Your mouth, wide or drawn, round or squared. Your lips, full or thin. Your cheeks, rectangular, oval, or heart-shaped. Your chin, round, square, or pointed.

And often enough, when or if you have been unmasked, I have discovered that my guess of how you appear was wholly wrong!

© 2020 PRA

2 thoughts on “A Coronavirus Chronicle #14

  1. Paul,
    Love Part 3. Good point about the eyes not representing the whole self. For me, I feel that since a significant part of the person is missing, I MUST pay very close attention to what they are saying or doing with the rest of their body to ensure I’m getting the entire message from them. I’m guessing I will be shocked months from now when I finally see unmasked people and everything in addition to their eyes! That’s something I’m really looking forward to!



  2. Loretta, in a real way, the posts that fall under the heading “A Coronavirus Chronicle” constitute not only my observations, but also those things I’ve learned and am learning during this time (which, giving the seeming long-lasting stretch of the pandemic, may become eral in nature). Thus, whenever there is a vaccine and, thus, immunization, which may allow some return of society to former norms of behavior, I’ll find it of personal interest to review these learnings so to discern which may abide and which may fall by the proverbial wayside.



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