Julie’s Jar: Guardrails

It may come as no surprise to many who know me when I tell you one of my nicknames in Junior High was, “Miss Goody Two Shoes.” I was a rule follower. From the time I can remember, I took great comfort in following the rules at school. The rules at home were trickier to navigate. At school, for the most part, the rules were my guardrails. They provided structure and a sense of safety.

One of the greatest indignities I was forced to suffer in school was punishment because someone else broke the rules. This happened on occasion when the teacher was undone and blurted just before recess or the end of school, “You’re ALL staying in for recess” or “You’re ALL staying 10 minutes after class.” This mostly occurred in elementary school, but it also happened in Jr. High and once in a blue moon in High School. It really wasn’t in the self-interest of the teacher to keep us; after all, the ENTIRE class was apparently the bane of her/his existence. Why would she/he want to spend any MORE time with us?

Usually, there were only one to three students who were the culprits. It was as if the teacher assumed the rest of us had power to keep our comrades in line, which we didn’t. This scenario seems to be playing out today among our entire nation. “I’m tired of COVID” and “I’m tired of doing everything on Zoom and Facebook.” Being tired of it unfortunately doesn’t make it go away. Taking a nap won’t fix this.

The numbers in LA County and surrounding regions are climbing, again. A large number of the population still refuses to do the simplest of things to protect other people: Wear a mask and stay 6 feet or further from people outside your household/bubble. Every day as the numbers climb and more people die and we stay in the Purple Tier, I feel like I’m being punished because the other kids in the class won’t follow the rules.

This is my lament; we live in a nation of too many people who think themselves exceptional and refuse to care for the vulnerable. How do I dig myself out of this hole to have hope and encourage people to find their inner “we’re all in this together” and “caring for the vulnerable is a value that guides my actions in the world”?

“When did we see you Jesus?”

“When you did it for the least of these (the frail, the elderly, even the young and strong who are dying at lower rates), you did it also for me.”

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