Imagine someone wearing this mask (or one similar to it) in a place of business at lunch time on busy Friday afternoon. Yesterday, I stopped in at Taco Bell near where I work and after I had placed my order, I turned around to see the person in line behind me wearing a navy blue sweatshirt with the hood pulled up around a mask similar to this one. The man was about 5’10″ tall and with his hands jammed into his pockets, it was impossible to determine his age or race. I was completely stunned. The Taco Bell was fairly busy with twenty or so customers (some of which, were men) and, I could see everyone nervously eyeing the man in the mask from the corners of their eyes. I had planned to eat at the restaurant, but, thankfully, my order came up almost immediately and I grabbed it off the tray and left the restaurant.
Not sure what this person was up to I considered calling 911 but, instead watched the Taco Bell from the safety of the other side of the parking lot. From where I sat, I could not see the door, so, I never really knew if the person in the mask just ordered food and left. Or, if he stayed in the restaurant removing his mask, so he could eat his lunch. Either way. It was an un-nerving experience and one sadly, typical of the times in which we live.
I’m writing this, because it was a wake up call for me. We never really expect these things to happen to us; to come to our neighborhoods. I’ve racked my brain as to what the response to this man should have been. And, while apparently, he did nothing illegal, it is completely inappropriate ( in my opinion) to enter a place of business dressed like this. Not one of us knew, whether or not he had a weapon in his sweatshirt and no one confronted him or said anything about his appearance (at least while I was there). Watching the restaurant for about 30 minutes, no police cars arrived, so I assume they were never summoned. Apparently, nothing dramatic transpired. Although, it could have turned out much differently.
When I got back to work, I shared the experience with my co-workers, most of whom found it as alarming as I did, although, one co-worker ( a physician), suggested I was being “hypersensitive”. Hypersensitive????
It’s obvious that we live in evil times. With God’s help, we need to be prepared to expect, the unexpected. Situations like these arise suddenly and, without warning. Shopping at the mall, attending a movie, eating in a restaurant. Situations like these catch us off guard because, they occur in the most ordinary of circumstances, a situation, the perpetrator exploits to his advantage. And, while we cannot plan for each and every situation, we can pray that God will give us help and wisdom in advance. What if this man is testing public reaction to his appearance before carrying out some other plan? Obviously, no one did anything. A reaction, he may be banking on for the future. A very frightening thought.
May God strengthen and guide us in these turbulent times in which we live.
Watching and waiting with YOU for the soon return of Jesus! And, as always,
“Pray for the peace of Jerusalem, they shall prosper, who love thee” Psalm 122:6