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May 29, 2021
WN: I found this wise, caring and touching.
So I just found out today that both my elderly aunt and uncle have tested positive for COVID 19. Both of them belong to a very conservative church, and have like so many Americans been fed a heavy stream of lies and misinformation. Though several members of the family had pleaded with them to get vaccinated, they both resisted, despite their age and several additional health issues. Of course, they did not. Why? They refused to get vaccinated because their church has been vehemently opposed to every single measure to address the virus since the beginning; starting with the “hoax”, pivoting smoothly to “little flue”, then digging in hard to “personal freedoms”. There were some added sprinklings of “government plot”, “it’s in gods hands”, “liberal political agenda”, “trying to make trump look bad” and a brief return to “hoax” from time to time.
Yep, they ran in that kind of crowd. It pains me to say it, but they were also trump voters; as you’ve probably already guessed. I can’t say they were trump supporters exactly; they often said how they didn’t particularly like him, but they liked his policies. What specific policies they liked, or more importantly why they liked them, is a topic I chose not to delve into. Besides that, I haven’t exactly been close in many years. Still, I’m writing this with a heavy heart, and deep concern for their health. My uncle, in particular, is not doing particularly well. He is currently hospitalized and extremely weak, and struggling with very basic tasks.
Despite the less than flattering introduction, I actually have mostly fond memories of both. My uncle was always quick with a joke, liked to laugh big, and has always had a presence that would fill the room. As a little kid, he was one of my favorites! He loved to play and be goofy, was a ferocious tickler, and was the sort of uncle who just might tell you things that other adults wouldn’t just yet. He just might say them in terms that were a wee bit more colorful too. My aunt was in many ways his opposite. She was the sort that just had this very calm, quiet strength. Where my uncle was comfortable being the center of attention, telling stories, telling jokes, playing games or playing pranks; my aunt was the sort who could say a lot without needing to say much. She wasn’t shy; but she was the sort of person who liked to be efficient with her use of words, and generally communicated a lot with things like body language and her own mood and energy. Her energy was almost always like a warm blanket of love and joy, and the things she did say were usually acutely perceptive, positive, and supportive. Reconciling these qualities with some of their religious and political views has always been a perplexing thing for me, but I can say for certain that they are both very genuinely good people to the core.
Among the things I see that I can take from this is a reminder that there is more humanity than we sometimes see in the news these days. That things are often not quite so black and white, cut and dried, right and wrong, good and evil, etc. Especially when it comes to people. We all hold a bit of Yin and a bit of Yang within us, and we can find some of either one if we go digging for it. I make no excuses for my aunt and uncle; after all they did freely choose to involve themselves with their particular church, and there are quite possibly other people who may become infected by one of them. At the same time, I can see them as good people who took a wrong turn or two, who were mislead and manipulated; things that could happen to each of us a lot easier than we might like to admit. I can hold both feelings as valid simultaneously, while neither of them is entirely correct independently. This hasn’t been easy. As a child, I grew up seeing people as either good or bad; and good people were nice, and bad people were mean. It’s been an ongoing process to try and reconcile those times where a good person does something really bad, or where a bad person suddenly does something really good.
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P.S. I sent some thoughts and said some prayers for the aunt and uncle! They must be proud of such a wise nephew . . .