Accept versus Respect

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)

7 thoughts on “Accept versus Respect”

  1. My accountant sent me a letter stating that there will be no “in person” consultation meetings this year due to Covid. I took my documents to him., met him outside in the parking lot, had a brief masked conversation through an open window and agreed to meet again outside when he was finished with the tax preparation and ready for me to sign the documents. He has family members with impaired immune systems as do I. I highly respect his decision to have consultations by phone, email, and masked conversations through the car window.

    My son, who has a severely impaired immune system, is vaccinated and boosted, resides in a Skilled Nursing facility where all residents have been vaccinated and boosted. A number of residents have gotten “break through” Covid. The facility now has a special section for their Covid patients.
    My faith guides me to continue to care for myself and others. I am vaccinated and boosted and will continue to wear masks with the goal of protecting myself and others in spite of government lifting of mask requirements.

  2. Okay, so it seems we really have no choice but to accept Joe’s decision to dispense with all COVID protections for himself if he sees fit—that’s a personal choice, although it will likely have a negative impact on his tax practice, not to mention other things (one must accept the consequences of one’s decisions). On the other hand, the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics reports that there are at least 148,500 CPAs in the Golden State. many of these practitioners, I am sure, would be more than happy to accept, respect and accommodate the exposure concerns of a pair of ultra-high risk clients such as you and Annie. I bet you can even find one who has many of the otherwise admirable characteristics as Joe and is just as likeable.

    • Thanks, Skip not only for reading my blogs but also for responding. Every time I hear/see your name, I have wonderful memories of the coffee house at Holy Nativity. I can also remember that if it wasn’t for you, that venture would not have been successful. I can still envision the “Coffee House” and you organizing the entertainment. So then I have to play one of the CDs you sent and smile inside and out.
      After this tax season, I am looking for a new tax preparer but I didn’t have time to find one and get ready.
      Annie and I are off to Lake Tahoe early tomorrow morning for a couple of weeks of skiing. It will be good to get away and play in the snow and commune with natured at 8,500 feet.
      It’s my renewal time.

    • Many thanks, Laurie for reading my blog and reacting. I did receive a few “I totally disagree with you.” but it was expected. I had no idea that so many people would rather die and kill others than receive a simple vaccine. Yikes. We think of you and your family every day, hoping all of you are coping. We are coming to Seattle in August (COVID willing) and hope we can see you.
      PeaceLoveJoyHope Bil


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