The Gift of the Mask

By Sue Wieczynski, RSM, Retreat and Spiritual Director

Posted on

The mask is not what we want, it’s uncomfortable, hot, inhibits seeing the face of another, etc. Yet after directing a retreat with retreatant and directee wearing masks and socially distancing, I had an Aha! moment. 

What do you SEE when another wears a mask - eyes!

The true essence of the person -- the God within. 

Think about it? How often do you really look at the person’s eyes when you talk and listen to them?

We look at the mouth, the nose, the cheeks, the sound of their voice, we look away, and we judge the looks of the other even if it is unconscious, etc. How often do we actually look at their eyes?

I believe that when one only sees the eyes, one truly focuses on what the person is saying and not spending time judging.

My experience led me to look around the dining room at faces while people were eating. First, I didn’t recognize anyone and second when I did their face was not what I imagined. I was fascinated by what I expected and what I actually saw. 

Looking at one’s eyes gives you a totally different perspective of a person. People are afraid to look or allow others to look into their eyes for we know our eyes tell our stories and we become vulnerable. What if everyone allowed and actually looked into the other’s eyes? Just maybe our hearts would be opened to truly care and love the other person no matter who they are and what they look like. 

So, the next time you see a person with a mask look into their eyes, the entrance to their soul - you might be surprised.