Recently, while I was buried in deep thought about the country’s economic environment, its direct and indirect impact on my family, my two-year-old daughter came and innocently asked me what I was doing. I turned slowly, smiled at her and carried her on my shoulder.
Then she said, “dad, let’s dance.” Not knowing what we were dancing to, I started dancing with a smile, but with deep concerns about what the future holds. Thereafter, we started playing a game. I had to immediately put on a mask to give her the happiness she wanted, other factors remaining constant.
I was then reminded of my friend Wilfred whose wife agonised with a constant, throbbing headache last year and without a doubt, she knew that her life was coming to an end. A once lively lady would cry the whole night and day with pain, lying on his chest while he prayed for her. Wilfred spent much of their resources to look for the best doctors within and outside the country to save his wife.
Doctors failed and all was left to the will of God. The whole year, Wilfred hardly slept. He had to make sure he protects the children from the trauma that would otherwise affect them.
He became the mother and maid at home on top of being the father to look after the family.
At the same time, Wilfred had to prepare breakfast every morning, dress the children and take them to school. Thereafter, he would drive to office where his teammates and customers expected him to deliver an exceptional service.
For the whole year, Wilfred could only sleep for 30 minutes in his car during day in the parking. The environment did not expect any excuses for not working. So he had to always leave his family problems at home and drive to office.
Few of his colleagues and bosses knew about the agony he and his family were going through. Not even his relatives.
Today, I continue to see people from different walks of life wearing masks. Doctors put on a mask to treat patients and yet cancer is eating them away. Teachers put on masks to teach other children in high profile schools yet their own are in unpreviledged schools.
Counsellors put on masks to counsel others and yet they are executing divorce papers.
Bankers put on masks to provide financing solutions yet they are also sinking in debt.
It is important to note that the people agonising in pain due to sickness, poverty, hunger, abuse, loneliness, etc, are usually the first to reaching out to others whenever called upon because they know the meaning of suffering. They don’t want to see others suffer.
When the world mourns George Floyd, it is not because they knew him, but because they know what it means to live life on the edge. They do not want to see the oppression which they have suffered happen to others. They put on a mask to fight for the rights of others.
We soon become the masks we put on either consciously or unconsciously. If you repeatedly put on a mask of love and kindness, you soon become that. If it is a mask of fierceness or brutality, you soon become that. We all cover our bodies with the best fabric in order to look presentable to the public yet our outer and inner bodies are bruised and agonising with pain.
What we decide to put on top to disguise who we are is the mask.
GOD wanted Joshua to put on a mask of determination and confidence to defeat Jericho. Much as the Battle was for the LORD, Joshua had to rise up with his small army and match in the name of the Lord.
Our challenge is to chose the right mask - the mask of love, not hate, mercy not judgement, protection not oppression, support not destruction, save not kill.
Mr Kasasa is the head of business banking, dfcu Bank.