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My Mask-iversary

This week, 2 years ago, I wore a mask in public for the first time.

My birthday (march 15) was my last normal day of life. My parents and I were in Florida visiting Grant (my fiance at the time) and his family. We celebrated my birthday going to a buffet, of all places, and I recall talking around the table about how “maybe” we should sanitize and how “maybe” it was a risk to be sharing tongs with strangers in the buffet. But, I had no idea the risk it was leaving the house in general. On our way to the airport to Toronto, Grant’s mom thoughtfully gave my family some masks for the plane ride, but I remember feeling embarrassed wearing it because no one else was. Little did I know, that would be the first mask of 100s to come.

When I got home I was required by the new regulation to quarantine for 2 weeks before going back to work at The Dale. I thought maybe that was a bit over cautious until I saw the news on screens in the airport showing the panic of this fast spreading virus. There was tension in the baggage area as everyone tried to get the heck out of there.

As I reflect about these early days of Covid, I can’t believe it’s been two years. I remember my whole family being home, gathering in the living room with nowhere to be. I remember being careful to not use too much toilet paper. I remember hugging Grant goodbye in Florida and saying “I hope I see you again” (at the time more as a joke). I remember going on long walks with my friend Cat, standing 6ft apart as we walked. I remember the anxiety of going back to work and not knowing who could have it. 

When I went back to The Dale, everything was different. We were no longer running indoor drop-ins, we weren’t allowed to use our usual locations all over the neighbourhood, and I had to stand far away from everyone including my co-workers. The team had the weekly schedule nailed down by the time I got there- the outdoor to-go meals and outreach I talk a lot about in my blogs. 

The moment I first got back to The Dale is such a clear memory in my head. I entered the church slowly, full of fear after being stuck at home watching the news so much. I felt like I couldn’t touch anything at all without sanitizing after- the hand railing, the light switch, my phone, everything felt like a risk. It amazes me looking back at how my outlook and fear of covid has ebbed and flowed with the regulations and the fatigue, you might share the same experience with that. I felt torn between wanting to protect our friends in the community by staying away but also wanting to have a fearless love through being close to people, wanting to embrace everyone because of how hard things were. Those already marginalized now had to deal with being unwelcomed into buildings and distanced from others on top of that. The days felt so heavy.

And now here we are. Two years later and masks are almost no longer be required. I am excited, afraid, and tired. I know I’ll still wear one most places for a while, especially at The Dale, but I can’t wait to see people’s faces again. It’s exciting to talk about what The Dale could look like in a few months. Though difficult, we learned a lot about how strong our friends at The Dale are and witnessed, in action, the power of community. 

Peace is a word use a lot at The Dale. Even during the fear and grief of the pandemic, at times I felt an indescribable peace that I knew could only come from the Lord. Even when it felt hopeless, God was there, and continues to be. These are the truths I will carry with me into the rest of this year and throughout the unknowns of so many changes ahead.

Published by olivia

Hi there! I am a Community Worker with The Dale Ministries, and these are my stories and photos.

One thought on “My Mask-iversary

  1. “I felt torn between wanting to protect our friends in the community by staying away but also wanting to have a fearless love through being close to people, wanting to embrace everyone because of how hard things were.”

    You articulate things so well, my dear. Great job!

    Liked by 1 person

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