Life Behind the Face Masks :: Pondering in the Pandemic

Life Behind the Face Masks :: Pondering in the Pandemic

Documenting the Days During the COVID-19 Crisis

She stood there on our front porch on Easter Sunday afternoon. It took a minute to recognize who it was behind the face mask but we soon saw the eyes and heard the voice that we recognized as our friend and neighbor.

We took shelter–socially distancing under the porch roof  — as the rain poured and she told us her dear friend had been taken to the hospital by ambulance the day before. Had we heard? Not COVID – related but pre-existing underlying issues had escalated to a degree that couldn’t be ignored.

He had resisted the urge to go to the hospital until his situation was beyond ignoring a desperate need for help. His biggest fear …being alone and the threat of getting the coronavirus. That anxiety had overwhelmed any rational sense of obvious medical need until there was no other option.

The hard truth for all is that death can seep under any door.

As the southeast braced for severe storms with possible tornado activity that Easter afternoon, we stood there together … the thunder rolling …the lightning flashing …and she continued to share her heart …her fears …frustrations …uncertainties. No mask can hide that.

We all need somebody to listen to our stories and validate them with compassion.

On this Easter Sunday — unlike any other I’ve ever experienced — the stone had been rolled in front of the church doors — they were closed like a sealed tomb … parking lots empty. Heavy rain …wind …family gatherings on hold …and my husband and I were feeling the sadness flood in like the puddles filling our front yard. We missed our kids and grands, our church families, the anticipation of planning Easter services to connect Jesus to those who might be entering the church to check off their C & E attendance (Christmas & Easter).

Emotions were as raw as the cold, damp air and yet there we stood on our front porch — the three of us — in the middle of it all. Easter in quarantine. Tornadoes in route. Coronavirus still unleashed. Thunder. Lightning. It was a surreal.

I asked if I could pray for her and for her friend’s healing, partly because I had no words left of my own on this dreary day and partly because I knew that was the only real help I could offer.

Social distancing has left us awkwardly trying to find a way to help and comfort. Giving hugs and physically being with people seems so out of reach these days.

Yet if we really look behind any mask, we can see what lies within the heart. Fear. Determination. Joy. Sadness. Frustration. Freedom. Uncertainties. Resolve. Weariness. Motivation.

We listen. We love. We keep connecting in the best way we can. We keep holding on to hope.

“But the eyes of the Lord are on those who fear him,
on those whose hope is in his unfailing love…”
(Psalm 33:18 NIV)

“We wait in hope for the Lord;
he is our help and our shield.” (Psalm 33:20 NIV)

“Yes, my soul, find rest in God; my hope comes from him.” (Psalm 62:5 NIV)

And as we wait, we work our waiting out by spreading hope to those in need.

Friends of mine have joined with others to use their sewing skills to make face masks for others in vulnerable situations. They’ve turned their waiting into working …rallying hope for those on the front lines and those who need to feel safe while venturing out into the uncertainties of life.

Penny sews for Madison Mask Makers, a group formed in Madison, Alabama.  They’ve sewed together hope in over 4,000 masks so far.  

Wendy has given back to the same hospital staff who helped her son through a traumatic journey with brain cancer.

She shares masks with her brain-cancer-survivor-son who is giving back as well  by working with those who are  mentally challenged.


We don’t wait as those who have no hope.  We work out our waiting.  We stand on front porches and pray with others.  We sit in our sewing rooms and sew face masks.  We take walks in the open spaces and encourage another traveler along the road.  We remember the people  behind the masks and look with eyes of compassion.  

We really are … ALL in this together. 


Joy Waters Martin

My kids tease me sometimes that my definition of a situation going well is often described as, "It was 'life-giving' " -- meaning, it may have had some conflicts or uneasy moments or stress but all in all , something about it breathed life into the situation and the people involved...something of the heart was moved in a good direction. I'm all about LIFE ... life with my husband, life with 4 adult children, their spouses and 8 grandchildren (to date, that is :), life in our home and life in a wild adventure we tend to label "ministry". In reality , all of these categories mesh together to make up the "organic me". Relational , redeeming and restoring are some of my favorite words and they give life to my soul as I walk it all out with Jesus Christ, the Giver of all life. Profile Photo by: Melody Martin

This Post Has 2 Comments

  1. Anne Wright

    Beautifully said my friend! God is still using you to bring life-giving moments to others! I am always so thankful He allowed you to be a part of my life so many years ago and that we have been able to maintain our friendship whether we are living close by or miles apart! I love you Joy!

  2. Debby Smith

    I love this! Work out our waiting!

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