A funeral of a friend was held at the National Cathedral last Tuesday. The entire church was crowded with mourners; friends and family and those whose lives the deceased touched. It was a beautiful service, true to his ideals and his nature. What a celebration! The Cathedral was full from the front rows to the back. Someone mentioned a figure of 700 souls. Few people whom I know are as well known and also well-liked as this man who died too soon of melanoma. What he thought of the current panic over the Covid crisis is not known to me.

However, the notable thing is this. Every single person in that church wore a mask. Except me. And later there was the man next to me who pulled his mask down below his nose and mouth. Probably because he felt comfortable doing so because of my bare face, and partly because he wanted to breathe. Someone told me later that there is a “mandate” in Washington DC about wearing masks in church. I don’t believe in mandates. Unconstitutional, indeed.

There we all were, in the huge space, with giant columns holding up majestic arches and a ceiling 50 feet high. Our celebration was in God’s house, with the gorgeous stained glass windows in colors so vibrant they assault the eye. A very spiritual place, the sense of Holiness filled us all with hope and love and a sense of celebration for a life well-lived. Our faces were covered (except for mine)so we could barely recognize each other at a time when we needed each other more than ever. It was a beautiful service and it moved me, along with everyone else. The sound of the organ in that magnificent space was almost indescribable as it thrummed through my body. The remembrances and the prayers and the Homily were all marvelous. The speakers were maskless, at least, and we could hear them.

Later we left the building in a rush to get outside into the sunshine and LIFE. Everyone began removing masks and to see who their neighbors were. It was lovely, waiting there for a few minutes before going on to the reception at a club not too far away, in Maryland. The wind whipped our hair and blew skirts around our legs, my wool cape was welcome and needed. This day fall showed itself for real, with a sapphire blue sky, rusty-colored leaves beginning to fall from some trees, and a wind to blow away the last traces of summer. The towering edifice of the Cathedral was our backdrop as we reconnected with old friends and expressed our gratitude for having known the deceased. At the same time, we all remembered our own mortality. To see how loved our friend was reminded all of us to cherish our friends. We appreciate them more than ever after bidding goodbye to one who was still vital and active until 3 weeks before the end. Gratitude is contagious and it feels good.

Then we all convened at the elegant private club where the memorial reception was held. No more masks. And we were crowded cheek by jowl in a much more confined space. We ate and drank and greeted each other warmly with kisses or handshakes. Plenty of germs were passed around but people seemed oblivious to any “danger”, thank Goodness. The contrast was so blatant though. In one space ALL WERE WEARING MASKS, for no reason except some fake mandate which is totally unconstitutional. And in the other venue, we just became free humans aware of the possibility of some risks perhaps, but able to make our own decisions.

Am I the only one who sees the hypocrisy? Why do people put up with this? The problem with this is who precisely is going to determine what is “disinformation”? Who is willing to swear beyond any fraction of doubt that their view alone is correct for everyone else? People are judging each other based on their own prejudices and sometimes even their own political parties. People see things happening that they do NOT approve of. But they say nothing. They do nothing. And why do they become angry if I bring up the Germans not speaking up when Hitler cracked down on those whom he did not like? (It was not only the Jews). If people do nothing, then tyranny reigns.

I do not believe in “doing nothing”.

Copyright©. 2021 Bonnie B. Matheson

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