Last year arguments erupted over politics, the election, and COVID-19. This year, however… 

Oh, no. never mind. We are still arguing over politics, the election (and upcoming mid-terms), and COVID-19. 

The more things change, the more they stay the same. Writing is one way to express my thoughts and actually, many of my thoughts develop through writing. 

I ponder an incident or comment, reflect upon it, run 4+ miles in expanding my understanding, and then work to analyze, evaluate, and draw conclusions. As such, I want to share a quandary in which I have found myself. 

Is this self-inflicted, a secondary effect, or just something that happens in the line of difficult conversations? You decide.

With many medical professionals in my family, plus an additional flock who research and study current events and trends, the majority has been vaccinated — with glee, I might add.

Granted, I had side effects with both inoculations, but within 36 hours I felt 100% energy and health as well as relief that continues as we begin to navigate the persistent ambush of this virus.

 I also admit that I became less-than-cautious, setting my masks aside, shortening my social distancing, and going to locales that weeks earlier 

I would have never considered. Unfortunately, I have forced a return to caution as variants arise causing more illness and more death.

And so, my concern. Two years ago, we started what we had hoped would be an annual event: Brawl-a-Walla. 

Female family members gathered, sipped wine, completed crafts, played cards, laughed, and enjoyed the wineries and restaurants of Walla Walla. We booked the second excursion, but were forced to cancel last November due to COVID. 

Feeling confident, we pooled resources to put half down on a VRBO knowing, just knowing, that with a vaccine, life (and lives), would be safe. 

However, with the Delta and Mu variants, my safety conviction has waned. While my chances of getting COVID are slim, I worry about carrying the virus home to family and friends, especially my grandchildren who are all under 9 years old. But the most challenging aspects is two nieces who are not vaccinated.

I have fretted, talked with my sisters and daughter, and run many-a-mile to sort out a positive solution. 

Finally I decided that instead of skirting the issue, ignoring the proverbial elephant in the room, I should call one niece and then the other. 

I phoned out of love for them, I truly did, as well as out of apprehension about the wellbeing of everyone that I care about who plans to attend. I suppose that you can imagine that the visit did not produce positive results.

Although I perceived break-through cases a danger, my nieces took it as “the vaccine does not work anyway.” I reasoned that it did cut way down on severity and that actually, in the big picture, there are few cases of an infection in those who have been vaccinated. It is interesting to use a similar argument in creating divergent opinions. 

Both ended our chat with “Well, I won’t come then”, discontent abounding, and hurt feelings resounding through the cell connection.

I accept that they are entitled to their own ideas and actions; I realize that this is a touchy topic; I understand that my interaction might be perceived as an invasion of privacy and personal choice.

But with more running and time between those calls and the present, I determined that speaking up to them is far more important than speaking behind their backs. 

Talking to them and with them is more valuable than talking about them. I have not changed minds, but I have addressed a hot subject with forthrightness and objectivity. 

I have placed fear on the table for examination and discussion. Does the will of many override the will of a few? Can democracy reign amongst varying opinions? 

Are tough situations solvable within a close-knit group or is personal autonomy the trick card? I do not know.

We have 7 weeks before the final payment is due on our VRBO home. Maybe COVID will vanish (how wonderful!), maybe the non-vaccinated will relent, or maybe the gathering will be cancelled and we can hope for a refund or a re-schedule of our rental.

Maybe my stress is over-thought and over-wrought, but too many are sick and too many have died. Maybe isolation each winter is the new normal. 

Or maybe with precautions in place, next spring COVID will be controlled or better yet, vanquished.