Caged in. I feel caged in. Trapped in my own skin and trapped in a jail cell of regulation. Restrictions seem to fly in from all sides. Precaution after precaution seem to get implemented into the world as the temporary new normal. Sad, frustrated, confused and all other emotions shuffle through like a flip book.
I put my mask on and walk down the dark hallway with “EXIT” signs glowing red. Creepy and disheartening is this combination of things. My adult self is unable to compute how it feels to wear a hospital mask and walk down the hall from the kitchen. How much has changed and has become uncomfortably disorienting over the course of just a few months?
I think about the children I work with as I head to my room for the night. Mask over my nose and mouth, feeling strange and alone, a quote pierces through my thought like a clear voice. “Willingness to become as a little child…” This echoed through me as I made it back to my room. This was a quote that I grew up hearing from Science and Health with Key to the Scriptures by Mary Baker Eddy.
I sat with it in my thought. “Willingness to become as a little child…” What would a child do if they were required to wear a mask in a dark hallway just to go to the kitchen and back to their room? Suddenly my imagination was ignited. I can pretend that I’m a secret agent on a mission. Or I’m a masked bandit on my way to steal something important. The innocence of children lightened my thought and released the heavy feel.
No longer did I feel caged in or trapped, but I was just heading home and grateful to have a cozy corner to live in. I shut the door of my little corner and took off my mask. “Yes! I made it to the safe zone!”, I think to myself, still leaning into my childlikeness. It seems to soften the blow of restriction for a moment. For a moment, my thought was fun and playful.
Then reality set in and I continued with my dreary evening.
The next day I walk down the hall with mask on to go to work. The quote from Science and Health echos through me again. I want to remember more of it, but don’t know what the rest is.
Upon looking it up my thought is uplifted even more. “Willingness to become as a little child and to leave the old for the new, renders thought receptive of the advanced idea. Gladness to leave the false landmarks and joy to see them disappear, — this disposition helps to precipitate the ultimate harmony. The purification of sense and self is a proof of progress” (Science and Health, page 323-324: 32-5).
“Yes!” I think to myself. “I am a secret agent on an important mission. I’ve accepted the mission to leave the old and embrace the new. I’m safe and protecting everyone around me. I’m doing my job both humanly and in spiritual thought. I love being an agent!”
Joy fills my heart, though I know the reality of the situation is not joyful. I choose to tap into my innate childlikeness. I continue to build this childlike adventure in my mind.
“I’m on a mission to help those around me and to rejoice in all kinds of progress. This can be fun!” I think to myself. I felt grateful for all the ways I can express my good qualities and find strength in my childlikeness. Though children are small, and innocent they are strong in heart and imagination. They have a profound sense that they are safe and nothing can touch them when unafraid. I’m grateful that I can practice this and embrace this part of myself. Wearing a mask inside may seem dull and dehumanizing to my adult self, but it’s not so bad when I’m willing to be like “a little child” and embrace all the good I’m grateful for.