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Within Reason

I have a foggy memory of a high school teacher talking to our class about other drivers. They said, “you ever notice how you are the best driver on the road?” Of course, at 16, I didn’t really think I was the best at anything and as someone who tried to drive as infrequently as possible, this certainly couldn’t apply to me.

The teacher continued. “Think about it. Anyone who is driving slower than you? They’re an idiot. They’re a turtle and you sigh a lot and get annoyed by how this is going to make you late.”

Okay, I did do that.

“And,” the teacher continued, “what about the folks who are driving faster than you? Well they are reckless and they are going to cause an accident.”

I’ve definitely said that before.

“So you are the perfect driver. The exact speed you are driving? Only that is acceptable. Everyone else is too extreme one way or the other.”

This memory has been playing out in my head a lot lately. I cannot tell you what teacher, what class, or even what grade I was in, and coming back to it years later, I’m still not even sure of the teacher’s intention. Perhaps something about teaching us patience or bringing us invincible teenagers down to earth? Maybe it was a reminder to have a little grace on the road or to be safe.

But I think about it now and realize the people who are speeding? They are reckless. The people driving 25 on the interstate? They could cause an accident. And while everyone is free to drive as they please, there are certain rules of the road that we all accept and agree to adhere to—seatbelts, speed limits, stopping at a red light.

You can drive whatever car you’d like in whatever way you’d like… within reason. Within login. Within agreed upon rules and expectations set up to protect the common good. To protect the people you love. Your friends. Your family. Your community. You.

I understand my teacher’s point. Don’t fly off the handle because someone doesn’t drive how you do. Don’t lose your cool because someone lives their life differently. But at the same time, if their decision—whether in a car or in a public health crisis—is putting you and your loved ones at risk, you’re allowed to say something; you’re allowed to be upset.

It’s becoming increasingly difficult to reconcile the actions of adults in the United States who have been given the incredible privilege of a life saving coronavirus vaccine and refuse to take it. There are some medical exceptions to the vaccine and we recognize and acknowledge that. But a vast majority of the unvaccinated adults in this country are basing their decisions on incorrect information from unverified sources. Or, they are operating under the assumption that their religion will protect them.

And while everyone is free to live how they please, at some point you have to recognize when your actions are putting others—on a global level—at risk. We shared a post in April, encouraging folks to get vaccinated. We are not medical professionals. That’s why we are asking that you talk to your medical doctor. Make an appointment. Tell them your concerns. They are the experts.

I would bet that 99% of people reading this blog would not drive 120 miles per hour in a car down the highway with no seatbelt on and believe that they are under the total protection of the divine. We’d all agree that’s pretty reckless. Faith is important. And we recognize that. But faith is also knowing when to trust the safety protocols a higher power has given to you. It’s knowing when to put on a seatbelt, when to follow the speed limit. When to make a decision that will protect not only your life but everyone around you… something I can only think to describe as Holy.


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