I’m not certain that I have ever been more at odds with myself than I am right now. 

COVID-19 has caused more chaos, confusion, depression, stress and desperation than anything I have witnessed in my lifetime. 

Many people are rightfully concerned about their civil liberties. I know that I am. Vacations have been canceled, we’re not allowed to dine out, attend church together, go to concerts or have family reunions. 

Parks are closed, we go from one “out of stock” item to the next and we are being asked to wear masks everywhere we go in public. 

A lady in Texas was actually arrested for opening her business after being asked not to. I formerly joked about “COVID Jail” but not so much anymore. People are now becoming defiant toward the limitations that have been placed on their businesses because they stand to lose everything they have worked for. I understand this and part of me completely agrees with it. 

I’m tired of wearing a mask everywhere I go. I don’t want to be told that I can’t travel to Florida to see my grandchildren or even visit with the grandkids who live five minutes away. It hurts my heart.

Tuesday I took my 75-year-old father who has Parkinson’s and other underlying conditions to an appointment with his neurologist in Columbia. I had a very straightforward conversation with the doctor about his feelings concerning the way in which the pandemic is being managed.

Even though I already know that if my father contracts the disease, he will most likely perish from it, hearing the words come from the doctor’s mouth was chilling.

We discussed “herd immunity,” which is something many people believe will contribute to the control of the disease and, according to Dad’s doctor, it probably will; eventually. The key word is eventually. In the meantime, like the German measles and polio, many people will die before herd immunity will contribute to the decrease or the severity of the disease.

Many of us are simply not old enough to remember the staggering number of deaths that occurred during those pandemics. Many are too young to know much, if anything, about them. And many simply want to stand their ground and defy the government’s instance on following these safety standards and guidelines.

I don’t blame them. I don’t want my freedoms taken from me either. 

When I looked at my father after having this conversation with the doctor, my eyes watered up and I took on a new understanding. His point was that wearing a mask will not keep you from getting the disease, but if you have it and don’t know it, you will help stop the spread of the disease. If everyone wears a mask, we will all help stop the spread. 

We have all heard that a second “wave” will come in the fall. A vaccine will not be ready by then and the doctor firmly believes the Midwest has only been fortunate by the grace of God that we haven’t seen more cases already.

This virus will come back and the possibility remains that it will come back with a vengeance. I don’t want to watch my father die like this. It is a very cruel and unforgiving upper respiratory illness that will take the life of an elderly person or a person with underlying conditions and crush them without mercy. 

Please consider this as you’re making your decision whether to wear a mask or not. 

I want the country to get back to work and I want to be able to travel and have my life back, but I’m also willing to protect you from potential death. My hope is that you will want the same for me. 

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