Somehow, I had missed the word liminal until the last couple of years. One of my pastors used it in a sermon, more than once, referring to the liminal time we were in. And, I will argue, we’re still in it when it comes to COVID.
The word is an English adjective meaning ‘on the threshold’, from Latin līmen, plural limina.” In anthropology and religion, liminality is “the quality of ambiguity or disorientation that occurs in the middle stage of a rite of passage.” And in psychology, liminal experiences are “feelings of abandonment (existentialism) associated with death, illness, disaster, etc.”
Governor Kathy Hochul (D-NY) announced plans that the state mask requirement in schools would end starting on March 2, 2022. What that means is that people have the CHOICE whether to wear a mask in those settings or not. My wife, a teacher, is still wearing one. In fact, in addition to her own safety, she finds it important to model that behavior for her K-8 students. My daughter is also wearing her mask. She guesstimates that 75% of her high school colleagues are doing likewise.
So the remarks of Gov. Ron DeSantis (R-FL) surprisingly really roiled me. In 2021, he said, “It is prudent to protect the ability of parents to make decisions regarding the wearing of masks by their children,” and parents “absolutely have every right to equip their student with whatever types of masks that they want.”
Yet, at a Florida high school this month, “DeSantis on-camera Wednesday told the students, ‘You do not have to wear those masks. I mean, please take them off. Honestly, it’s not doing anything and we’ve gotta stop with this COVID theater.’ Clearly angry, he added: “So if you want to wear it, fine, but this is ridiculous.'”
So what happened to parental choice? He claimed he wasn’t bullying, only making sure that HE didn’t want people to think he was mandating their mask-wearing. Of course, I’m unsurprised, given his other policies.
As for me, I’m STILL wearing the masks indoors. Unlike Kelly, I don’t forget I’m wearing one, especially while singing at church. But at least I AM singing at church. And [crosses fingers] maybe that’ll go away soon.
It gets better
I was talking with my wife about how difficult going to the grocery store had been. There were arrows designating which lanes to go up and down. They were violated regularly, but they’d be coming in tandem the wrong way. Not only that but people who needed something where my wife or I were standing – and we didn’t shop at the same place – would reach over or even in front of us. Talk about lack of social distance. And this was WORSE in the pandemic. I theorize that people wanted to get in and out of the store as soon as possible. I seldom experienced the behavior either before COVID or in recent weeks.
My wish is that people show grace to each other in this liminal time. Let the masked be masked. And remember there are still places – some medical facilities, a lot of transportation, and individual business – that still require masks. Don’t be a donkey’s rear end.