Back when I was a kid, there were stories about a masked former Texas Ranger who fought outlaws in the American Old West with his Native American friend, Tonto. He was known as the Lone Ranger. He conducted himself by a strict morale code. He was a hero. He rode a horse named Silver. This masked man saved lives. He gave hope. He brought peace. He respected life and the individual rights we have to live free. At the conclusion of righting wrongs, mounted on Silver, proud, rearing and kicking up dust, the Lone Ranger shouted, “Hi-Yo, Silver! Away!” He rode off into the distance with Tonto beside him, on his faithful horse, Scout. A thankful bystander would ask the sheriff, “Who was that masked man?” The sheriff answered, “Oh, that’s the Lone Ranger.” Hope for a better day and a better future filled the hearts and minds of everyone who saw.
We live in strange times. Not so long ago, seeing someone wearing a mask covering their nose and mouth, going into a place of business, were considered suspicious, frightening and potentially dangerous. The police may have even been called in. It’s virtually just the opposite today. Thanks to the pandemic.
It’s often difficult for me to recognize someone now without their masks. Many of these people I see on a regular basis – wearing masks. Without the masks, more often than not, I couldn’t tell you who they are. Such is the state of most of our lives now.
I remember several years ago I was preparing to leave a gym in New Mexico. My young daughter of only four years old was with me. I said hello to a man as we were headed out. I spoke as though we had known one another for years. I can be that way. Some people might consider I push the limits of familiarity with my friendly nature. Others, appreciate a moment of bridge building, compassion and comradery. My daughter looked up at me and said, “Daddy. Who was that? What was that man’s name?” I said, “I don’t know.” I smiled and knelt down. I shook my head and said, “I don’t know his name, darling. But I know his soul through his eyes.”
I hope during this period where half of our faces are hidden beneath a mask, we will think of something. This is for us: the eyes are the windows of our souls. Love is letting go of fear. Who is that masked man? He is you and me, sharing, as well as reflecting, the content of our souls to one another. Embrace the revelation.