Gail and I haven’t seen each other in at least a decade, but I haven’t lost touch with her kindness and generosity. Now a real estate developer in Whitefish, Montana, I recognize her entrepreneurial spirit and vision in her latest project, Snow Bear Chalets, the world’s first “ski-in/ski-out treehouses,” located slopeside at Whitefish Mountain Resort. In 2018, Time Magazine selected them as one of the 100 greatest places in the world!
by Gail Lynne Goodwin, Whitefish, Montana
As a small business owner that was completely shut down by Covid, I understand the importance of re-opening small businesses throughout the country. Masks seem to me the no-brainer obvious solution.
But today I had two people reprimand me for wearing a mask when I saw that I couldn’t stay 6′ away from them. Each made a snarky comment when I stopped to put on my mask to pass by them. “Do I look sick?” “Wow, you’re paranoid,” etc. I wanted to say, “Educate yourself. I’m wearing this mask because I love you.”
To me…. #MasksMeanLove
What if I look at you but I don’t see that…
— you are immune-compromised and at high risk
— your child is fighting cancer
— you live with your elderly parents both in their 80’s
— you are a front-line health care provider and come into contact with hundreds of patients daily
-— you are the sole wage earner for your family and can’t afford to get sick
— you think you’re healthy so tomorrow you’re finally visiting your grandmother in her nursing home
— and the list goes on and on
Why do I wear a mask? Because I meet people like this every day, without ever knowing their risks or their stories.
I LOVE YOU AND WANT TO PROTECT YOU. I wear my mask for you, not for me. Even if I feel fine, I know I could be carrying this virus – without knowing it- and unintentionally pass it to you.
The problem is, no matter how we feel, how strong our immune system is, how we might feel that wearing a mask infringes on our civil liberties, or restricts our oxygen levels… we need to learn to just deal with it. With freedom comes responsibility. If we want to reopen businesses without deadly consequences, wear a mask if you are planning to exhale in public or stay at home. It’s really that simple.
To me it comes down to two things.
1) Education—If you educate yourself, you’ll see that wearing a mask in public when you can’t be 6′ from others, saves lives by reducing the unintentional spread from people who didn’t even know that they were sick. Why do you think Asian cultures who are accustomed to wearing masks had so much less spread than cultures like the US? Masks.
2) Kindness—Do unto others as you would have them do unto you. That means wear a mask to protect those around you, even if it’s uncomfortable. Wouldn’t you deal with a bit of discomfort to save a life? If you knew that exhaling in a crowd would take the life of the child of the next person you breathe on, would that matter to you?
There’s still so much we don’t know, but as we navigate these unchartered waters together, I would encourage you to BE KIND TO ONE ANOTHER. It’s a tough time right now and we’re all doing our best to get through it, but we have to remember that we’re all in this together. Snarky comments in person or online serve no one and only show our own ignorance. Loving one another will make it easier for all of us.
Please remember, #MasksMeanLove. So, instead of spreading the virus, spread your love by wearing your mask. Thank you!
Thank you for this. Such a gentle but firm reminder that we wear mask not only for ourselves, but because we are concerned about those we come in contact with. So sad that everyone doesn’t see it that way. So sad that some only see it as an infringement on their individual rights. So sad that everyone doesn’t understand that with rights come responsibilities.
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Gail…your piece Masks Mean Love really tells it clearly and I hope that it reaches those folks who haven’t understood that clearly in the past. This is a time when we cannot be doing things only for our own comfort. Some sacrifices are necessary and you have clearly made the point that wearing a mask for the benefit of others’ good health is such a very small sacrifice! Thank you.
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I am heartened to know there are caring and loving people like you in the world. We are all the better for it. It is hard to keep doing the right thing when uneducated people make snarky comments.
I am one of the very few still wearing a mask in public. There were signs in my apartment building asking people to wear masks. A few did. Most did not. Now the signs have been removed. Your post gives me encouragement to keep on wearing the mask. Thank you, Gail.
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Gail, explanation was perfect.