Compassion: A Table for Today

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Bradley Robertson

By BRADLEY ROBERTSON

Covid struck the Robertson house once again, and the candidate was me.

Just as in December, I was the only one in my home to be sick, no one else caught the beastie virus.

I recovered quickly and was not near as sick as I was eight months ago. I had the intense sinus and head congestion like last time, but with no fever, fatigue, aches or pains or “coma” like sleepy state. I was able to function and eat and still take care of my family.

My own body has proven to me that immunity building is real for Covid, but it does not extinguish the risk of reinfection.

After informing my family and a few close contacts of having Covid again, I of course got the consistent question, “have you been vaccinated?”

My answer, “no, I have not.”

I am not scared to share this information, nor do I feel any shame or guilt for not having the vaccine. However, I am evaluating my family often as to one day receiving the vaccine. That day is just not today.

You see, I am not against vaccines at all. My children got all their vaccines as babies and their boosters later in elementary school. I believe too, that one day the Covid vaccine will be on the pediatric list just like chicken pox, measles and mumps. I am not completely opposed; I am just not ready.

You see, there are a lot of people riding in this boat with me right now and I feel obligated to speak up. The fact is, we DO care for others, we just need more time to process all that is going on in this wild and truthful story of Covid-19.

What hurts my heart the most and is causing a stir in community and care is the idea that the unvaccinated are not “loving thy neighbor”. And I just don’t believe this is true.

I do not believe that unvaccinated equals “I do not care for my neighbor.”

Compassion is rooted in listening and understanding, then and only then, can you lead and persuade someone to follow you. It begins with relationship and human connection. It begins with placing others beneath ourselves and looking up to serve them.

Is vaccination an act of service? I think it is. I think that you are caring for others and yourself if you choose vaccination. But if you flip the coin, the unvaccinated people cannot be categorized as uncaring.

If one believes so strongly in being vaccinated, have they taken time to sit and listen to the other?

Do they know their background and concerns over vaccines or have they taken time to understand?

And if a person believes so strongly in not being vaccinated, have we too been considerate to listen and understand the opposer?

You cannot successfully lead by shaming or condemning. It just does not work like that.

If one feels so very strong for vaccination, has the time been taken to get to know the other in order to persuade in dignity and compassion?

It all goes back to the heart of the human. If a sense of sincerity and genuine care is missing, then convincing someone to act will be a loss.

I care deeply for my neighbor. I’m thankful some of my own family members received the vaccine. I’m beyond grateful for our local medical community, for I cannot even imagine what all they have been through in the last 18 months.

I believe without a doubt that we are all doing our absolute best with what we have been given, and we must believe the same for others. We must believe there is hope and good in all of us, whether we are vaccinated or not.

We don’t want people to continue to die from this horrible disease, we also will never convince people to act at all if we first don’t become their friend.

If Jesus were to sit with each of us right now, I believe he would say, “You’re doing a great job!”

Only time will tell how this all turns out, and we have a long way to go. Until then, may compassion be the table upon which we invite others to sit and listen.

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