I'm not bored

Two notes to regular readers of my journal: 1) We are still waiting for that baby. That’s the way that babies are. They may their appearances in their own way on their own time. There are plenty of signs that the event is coming soon, however. 2) Yesterday’s annual meeting was anything but boring. It was the longest annual meeting I’ve ever attended: 3 hours. In the end things turned out as expected. The congregation approved the budget that was recommended and elected the leaders who were nominated. Along the way there was a lot of discussion, including a proposal that, although not adopted, would have made a dramatic change in the ministries of the church going forward. There are a lot of discussions - and some more long meetings - in the future for this congregation. Life in the church is never dull.

Life in general is never dull.

There are moments of waiting, which can be viewed as boring, I suppose, but they also can be opportunities for calm and reflection in lives that are often so busy that we don’t take sufficient time for rest and renewal.

A quick scan of the headlines offer plenty of topics worthy of contemplation. They also deliver an image of a world where too few people are taking time for contemplation.

Sometimes - when I’m not attending three-hour long meetings - I try to understand things that are happening in the world. There are a lot of things that I don’t understand. I’m trying to make sense of the trucker protests in Ottawa. As an observer of Canada who, in the past, has enjoyed visits to our neighboring country, I’m trying to understand what it is all about and how the protests continue to disrupt life for the residents of the city. In my growing-up years, I did a very small amount of driving truck as a part of my father’s business. From that experience, I view the process of driving truck as one of dealing with a lot of rules and regulations. There are rules and regulations about height, length, and weight of trucks. The process of obtaining permits and operating within the limits of the law are complex. Truckers have to deal with weigh stations and the complexities of fuel taxes that need to be paid to appropriate jurisdictions. There are rules about keeping driving logs and taking enough time to sleep. Given all of the rules and regulations, I’m a bit surprised that the issue of vaccine requirements for crossing an international border has become the cause of the protests. I suspect that there is something much more going on.

Trucks and truckers don’t make money unless they are carrying freight up and down the highways. The Ottawa protests are expensive. The fact that the truckers can afford to go without income is surprising.

On the surface, however, the issue seems to be the vaccine mandate. There is nothing new about vaccine mandates. They’ve been around for a long time. And vaccines have been a part of international travel for decades.

I was not drafted. I registered when I reached the age. At that time there was a draft lottery and my birthdate earned me a low lottery number. I thought that I was facing induction. I received my notice and I appeared for my physical. I had been approved for alternative service by my local draft board. I don’t remember there being any option about the vaccines that were a part of the routine induction physical exam. I simply lined up with the others and received my shots. It was, as far as I know, a mandate.

I still have my “International Certificate of Vaccination” as approved by the World Health Organization and issued by the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. All of the participants in our church’s mission trip received those certificates and the recommended vaccinations in advance of a mission trip that we took to Costa Rica. I can’t remember any conversations about the vaccines being optional.

Canada has a relatively high vaccination rate when it comes to Covid. About 80% of Canadians are vaccinated. And like the United States, where the vaccination rate is lower, there has been an increase in the number of people who are vaccinated.

From my point of view it certainly appears that there is more to the trucker protests than a large crowd of professional truck drivers who suddenly feel their freedom has been taken away because they have to show vaccination paperwork to cross the border.

Then again, I’m not sure I have figured out all of the motivations behind a three-hour church meeting. There is a lot in this world that I don’t understand.

I guess I’ll keep watching and reading and trying to understand. Obtaining accurate information is a challenge in a world where there is so much information available that it is a challenge to sort truth from lies. The critical thinking skills honed by three years of graduate study seem insufficient to the challenge of discerning which sources of information are reliable.

In the good news department, since today’s journal is already rambling from topic to topic, in just a few days, on February 21, Australia is set to reopen its borders to vaccinated tourists. For almost two years, since March 2020, Australia has implemented some of the world’s strictest border controls in response to the worldwide Covid pandemic. Since we have dear friends with children and grandchildren who live in Australia, this opening seems to be a blessing. I guess you could say it was a vaccine mandate, but I don’t think the requirement will deter our friends.

In preparation for the birth of our first grandchild, we obtained DPT vaccine for the safety of the newborn. We had those vaccinations boosted again before traveling to Japan to meet our youngest grandson when he was born. We have made sure that all of our vaccinations including three injections of Covid vaccine are up to date in preparation for the birth of the new one coming this week.

There are a lot of things that I don’t understand. But I am definitely not bored. Not even at church meetings.

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