I received this notice from our tax preparer, “Joe,” on January 3, 2020.
“I trust you will respect my decisions. In an effort to be totally transparent you need to know that—after much study and thought—I have NOT received any of the shots. And I will no longer wear a mask at my income tax appointments as I did last year. I need the freedom to breathe and talk without a mask.”
This letter caught me off guard. At first, I was angry and thought, “To hell with him.” But my better judgment said, “Simmer down!” I truly like this man for all kinds of positive reasons. He is faith-based, is honest, works hard at doing taxes, and does them very well. He’s a good man, so I had to tell myself to not be stupid and throw the baby out with the bathwater.
I thought about it for a week, simmered down, and felt he deserved an honest answer. I went to the dictionary and looked up the word respect: “a feeling of deep admiration for someone or something elicited by their abilities, qualities and achievements.” I did not respect his decisions, but I highly respect him as a fellow human being.
I found a new word: accept. Although I cannot respect his decisions, I can accept his ultimatum as well as allow him to prepare our taxes this year, hoping we’ll remain friends.
My wife and I have been held hostage by the COVID-19 pandemic since March 20, 2020. At first, we hibernated, waiting for this pandemic to pass. We originally imagined it would last a few weeks, then a few months, and now a few years. Being ninety, I know my life is on the short end, and we still have things we want to do. We like to travel (independently), go to the symphony, attend church, work out in the gym, stay socially active, and be able to move around freely.
Having contracted lung cancer and then being diagnosed with tuberculosis (December 14, 2021), I found all the above activities much more difficult to do. We know that we could do all these things if almost everyone was vaccinated, had the booster shot, and was still willing to wear masks in crowded situations. But a fairly substantial group of people think like our tax preparer. They are holding us hostage because of their selfishness. I cannot take a chance of them infecting my lungs.
I want to ask Joe, “Do you care whether I live or die?” (His decision seems to say no.) Does he think he is much more important than me and all the millions of people who have been vaccinated? (Possibly.) Does he care if we ever get rid of COVID? (It doesn’t look likely.) Our tax preparer is a staunch Roman Catholic. Why won’t he listen to his pope, who says, “Get vaccinated.”
I want to respect Joe but can’t because his decision appears to be self-centered and adversely affects millions of people in the world.
I’m going to share this with him and take the chance that now he won’t want us as clients. Unfortunately, some guy by the name of Jesus has suggested throughout my life, “Silence is not the answer.”
Peace Love Joy Hope
Photo courtesy of GoToVan (CC BY 2.0)