That Faceless Hell

I woke up ten minutes before my alarm went off this morning. I got my Bible reading and prayers done, made breakfast, took the trash, took Get Along Husband to work, did the grocery shopping, and still made it home by 9 a.m. to start lessons with the kids. We did a great job, then I spent an hour working out before our late lunch. In short, I did what I always do, and what every homeschooling mom finds herself doing every day.

But man, I felt GOOD. All morning long, I felt good. And I started wondering, why do I feel so good right now? And why haven’t I felt this way in such a long time? My habits haven’t changed. My motivations and dedication to duty haven’t changed. My willingness to do the work hasn’t changed. I’ve been basically getting it done all along. It’s just better right now.

I haven’t been so focused and just plain happy to be getting things done in a very long time.

“Why do I feel so good?” I wondered, all morning long. And I think I have it figured out, after looking back on my day yesterday, then the weeks before that, and the eighteen months before those weeks. You want to know what the secret sauce is to being totally into life, and able to face it joyfully? One word:

Fellowship.

Yesterday, I got to worship with God’s people, my people, my tribe. I got to teach Sunday School (although our church is so much cooler than that, so it’s not called Sunday School here, but another name that means the same thing).

I got to see a bunch of sweet little faces, tell them about Jesus, and give a hug to a little guy who was having a tough moment. Then I got to lift my scratchy voice in praise to the One who redeemed me. I heard the Gospel preached by a pastor who loves the Lord and loves His flock with a sincere heart, and brings good Doctrine to sustain them.

Then I had an elder pray with me over a difficulty that I’ve been dealing with for 13 long years, with a hand on my shoulder and a heart that understood my need without being told very much about it. That kind of prayer can only come through the Holy Spirit praying for us, and with us, and through us.

I didn’t get much rest yesterday, though it was a Sunday, because I brought eight hungry kids home with me. I still had a couple more (laid back) meals to crank out, and the little ones still needed a lot of attention. A busy “day of rest” with all that social activity, for someone who is happiest locked in a quiet room with a book surely can’t account for how well-rested I feel today.

The only thing that can account for this long-absent sense of wholeness and wellness is the fellowship. This burst of happy energy was a pretty regular Monday occurrence for me, once upon a time. Before things went off the rails, my week would start at the top like that, and then take a downward slide as the weekend approached. Then there would be a recharge on Sunday, and we’re off to the races again!

“When Covid happened”, as people like to say, my good attitude started slipping. I didn’t really even notice it at first, because my lifestyle stayed basically the same. Our family weathered the storm of the tyrannical lockdowns much more easily than most probably did, simply because we’re stay-at-home people anyway. We’re a big family, so loneliness is easier to overcome, or at least to not notice. But over time, it started to wear on us, too. When church opened back up, but with masks, it wore on us even more. Because we knew the masks were a tool of political control, not of a virus, but of the population itself, our consciences wouldn’t allow us to wear them, so we were even more alienated than those who wore them.

Even inside church, because others were masked and social distancing, we were apart, as if a new sacrament, one of masks and hand-sanitizing, had been introduced to mark the True Christians. We were told that this is how we “honor our weak” and “show we care”, but to our family, it sounded like–because it was–gaslighting. It was second-hand gaslighting, to be sure, spoken by people who had been gas-lit into thinking they were bad for questioning whether it was right to cover their faces.

We couldn’t see faces, or hug friends, or even shake hands. Conversation was awkward, especially in a large church where we don’t recognize people quickly just by the top third of their faces. I literally ran out the doors after most services, it was so unfriendly a place. Worship itself was sincere, I believe, but strangled. I know I’m not the only one who emotionally couldn’t handle the physical and emotional distancing. We skipped a lot of Sunday mornings because it was too hard to watch.

We couldn’t really hear the voices of those trying to sing with muzzles on. We had to pray without touching each other, or even getting closer than shouting distance. Every meal at home became a mechanical event, just feeding a body, because we’d had no meals with the Church to remind us that we are more than the body. The sterile communion cup packages felt–well, sterile, obviously. I wonder if it’s even truly communion like that. God forgive us!

One of the most painful memories I have of this faceless time was when we were sitting two taped-off rows behind a family with a little guy, maybe a year and a half old, and the sweet fellow couldn’t take his eyes off my face. It would be nice to think that he was staring so much because he’d never seen anybody so pretty, but my mirror tells a different story, so I can’t comfort myself with that explanation. My daughter noticed it, too, and asked me later why he was so interested in my face. “I think,” I said, “that it’s because mine is the only adult face he’s seen without a mask since he was too little to remember. He doesn’t know what to make of grownup stranger’s faces.” It’s a scary thought for our society’s future when you consider all the babies who went through that crucial phase of development without adequate exposure to community faces.

We lost a year of learning each other. Our children lost a year of development, a year of community, a year of Sunday School, a year of friendship and learning who and how to trust. Those years can never be reclaimed. While I did my best to make sure my kids still had human contact, our church connection was first non-existent, then horrifically alienating as things “opened back up”.

My soul started to dry out. That was the worst thing, but my body started to feel the changes, too. I had more allergies and minor malaises–the kind you can’t really pin down, but you just don’t feel good–during this “safe” time than I did in the twenty years preceding it combined. My children were often just not quite right, as well. It was a physical depression due to isolation. I was frequently discouraged with my diet and exercise, feeling like I just wasn’t worth the effort, though by force of will I stuck to it anyway. I’ve been quite healthy by any objective measure, but like every other human being, I need more than a mirror and a thermometer to tell me I’m doing ok. Introvert that I am, I’ve discovered that I really do need people to show me myself. That’s a good thing to know, so I guess God can pull something good out of just any situation.

Touching, smelling, swapping pheromones, producing oxytocin and all those other hormones we have during face-to-face interactions, catching colds that educate our immune systems (in fact, they educate our immune systems to handle covid!): we need all of that germy, messy human contact. But the Church is the contact we need most. We didn’t just need to hang out with friends, which we managed to do sometimes. We couldn’t get the same boost from “worship” in front of the teevee. The Holy Spirit works uniquely through our physical meetings.

We are a literal Body. We share our immune system in a very real way.

(This is the previously password protected part of this post, where it became a plea to our pastor for protection from the brainwashing and alienation I’d experienced inside our church. It fell on deaf ears, and I no longer feel a responsibility to keep it private.)

Pastor Scott, I’m afraid you’ve reduced us, in your compliance with dictates from those who have no authority to make them, to primarily material beings whose souls can be put off until the current “crisis” is over. Even worse, we’ve been reduced to separate material beings, rather than a single body. Each part of that body has been treated as a potential danger others, just by breathing freely that breath that God first breathed into us. We’ve been dismembered.

Paranoia and obsessive-compulsive behaviors have become mainstream interaction. It’s literal madness that you’ve been allowing to develop!

If it had been temporary–say, two weeks to flatten the curve, as they lied to ease us into our prisons without a fuss–it would have been perhaps still a mistake, but a small enough one that we’d have forgotten it quickly. But it wasn’t over in two weeks. It’s not even over now. Pastor, surely by now you can see that the crisis will never be over.

Klauss Shwabb has promised us this in his book “The Great Reset”. The media have promised us this with their “new normal” messaging that shows they never intend to let up, no matter what the cost to humanity. A thousand voices on social media and television, none of them friends of Christ, have promised us: it will never end. They’re already planning to have so many “variants” identified that they intend to start using the names of constellations (their gods?) when they run out of Greek letters with which to tag them.

Showing through all of the dictates of the petty tyrants that have ruined so many lives, has been a gleeful, demonic joy in finally putting an unrestrained boot on the necks of normal Americans, and especially Christians. I believe that hindering our prayers has been a top priority for them. Our prayers could not have been so hindered without the naïve cooperation of our Shepherds.

Pastor, you preached so beautifully a few weeks ago about how you’d never let a wolf into your congregation to mislead your flock. In your teaching, as far as I can tell, you have never said a single word that isn’t absolutely in tune with the Gospel. You teach Bible, straight up. You denounce false teachers as agents of the Enemy, and you know who that enemy is when you catch him inside the camp. I fully trust your judgment on this.

But you’re not on guard against the Enemy in the world.

You, in your (I guess) hyperfocus on good doctrine, have allowed Enemies of Christ–those from without the camp, rather than the spies within–and their clueless enablers in the community to dismember the Body. In your zeal to make sure the Gospel is taught correctly (and it has been, thank you, thank you, thank you), I think you’ve yet been blind to what is deliberately being done to hamper the work of the whole, fit Body of Christ.

We are not being forcibly separated because SARS-Cov2 is the worst virus ever, but to keep Christ from going viral. Christ is dangerous to their wicked agenda. The Church is prevailing against the Gates of Hell, and this whole pandemic has been a psychological operation to stop us, right from the very beginning.

We were told Sunday that there’s some chance that we’ll be plunged back into that inhuman, faceless Hell, or maybe even shut down again if the town council says so. If this happens again, preacher, our family will have to look for a church where the preaching may be a little less spot on, but where the shepherds know that the body and soul can’t be put into separate boxes for dealing with at separate times–the body now, and the soul whenever the real danger has past.

We are in dire, terrifying danger of losing each other again.

Please–I write it with tears, Pastor, because I’m scared–please don’t let this happen again. Be bold enough to be a “botherer of Israel”. Resist these over-reaching, illegitimate tyrants, and keep your people safe (oh, how falsely they use that word!) from the sickness, both physical and spiritual, that comes of being forced away from each other, even if it’s “just” by a mask.

If you’re unsure about the science of masks and lockdowns, I assume it’s because you’ve been attending to your own business and have trusted the untrustworthy on this topic. You’ve devoted yourself to the science of souls, and I think, like a lot of scientists, you’ve gotten a bad case of tunnel vision, focusing only on your chosen subject. I’ll put a video clip here, as it’s a good summation of the lies that have been told to us. After that, if you want it, I have good information to corroborate what this doctor says. You can even find it easily yourself, if you use uncensored search engines like Duckduckgo. The sick truth about this pandemic often comes straight from the lying horses’ mouths.

SARS-Cov2 can be handled easily in the vast majority of cases, and it isn’t different in transmission than other respiratory viruses. The answer to this virus is the same as other respiratory viruses: wash hands, stay home IF YOU’RE SICK, and be generally healthy by making good life choices. We must allow the healthy members of our community to build the immunity that protects our vulnerable. We can’t overcome this virus by hiding and keeping ourselves “safe”. We have to be the place viruses go to die. 

I could write about the science all day, but that’s not what I’ve felt led to do right now. I just want you to hear my heart. After other interactions we’ve had in past, I feel like I can trust you to do that.

Thank you for your time, Pastor Scott. I know this was long, but so was the lockdown.