3 Thoughts About Crossing the Finish Line

The headline in our newspaper yesterday told the bad news – COVID cases and hospitalizations are on the rise in our county.

Despite over a quarter of our population being at least partially vaccinated, after weeks of declines, the trends are going in the wrong direction.

As every runner knows, you must actually cross the finish line before you begin to celebrate. Here are some thoughts about crossing the finish line.

You’re Almost There

Ask almost any runner to list their top three pet peeves. You will find items like “Manufacturers changing my favorite running shoe“, “People referring to any distance as a marathon“, and “Runners jumping the porta-potty line“. (Runners have a lot of pet peeves.)

Included on most runners lists, however, is hearing “You’re almost there” from a race spectator when you’re really not almost there.

Hearing it at mile 20 of a marathon is the worst.

Yes, relatively speaking, you have completed a large percentage of the racecourse. But 6.2 miles is a long way to run, especially when you have already run 20 miles.

You’re allowed to yell “You’re almost there” as encouragement when you are standing within sight of the finish line.

We are not almost there in the pandemic.

Yes, we have come a long way, and yes, we have made some good progress, but the finish line is not in sight. The finish line will be in sight when we can see evidence of herd immunity beginning to happen in our country and across the world.

We still have some distance to cover before we celebrate.

Image by Colin Behrens from Pixabay

“You Do You” Is NOT OK

A few weeks ago, I wrote a post about each person finding their own way to emptiness. Or to beginner’s mind. Or Shoshin. Whatever you want to call it.

The method you use – meditation, prayer, birding, yoga, running, the list goes on – is not important. To be rid of unhealthy ego-driven thoughts, use whatever method works for you. Lots of paths will get you there.

It’s a kind of hippy-dippy philosophy, I admit.

To end the pandemic, though, we cannot have a “You do you” mentality. We must follow the science. All of us.

The decisions and actions we make today do not affect only ourselves. They affect our community. We must do what is best for the greatest number of people.

Let’s Be Compassionate

There is a phenomenon occurring both on and off social media that I call “COVID-shaming“.

It occurs when people try to outdo each other with their virtuosity, pandemic-wise.

One person will mention they have not traveled since the pandemic began. Another will top that by stating they have not eaten in a restaurant for over a year. Someone else will announce they leave their house only for grocery shopping at 3:00 a.m. while double-masked. “I haven’t stepped foot off of my property since March 2020,” yet another will declare.

When you make good decisions, pat yourself on the back. Silently. You don’t need to announce it to the world, and please don’t try to one-up your friends and family by showing off your responsible nature.

Let’s give each other some grace.

Unless you are one of those people partying as part of a huge maskless crowd at Miami Beach over spring break.

In that case, you should be ashamed.

Hey, even compassion has its limits.

Hope is important because it can make the present moment less difficult to bear. If we believe that tomorrow will be better, we can bear a hardship today.– Thich Nhat Hanh

You can find the places I link up here.

 

 

93 comments

  1. Very true, Laurie, we are not there yet.
    For weeks and months, Europe has been struggling with rising numbers. Switzerland is still in lockdown mode. Restaurants haven’t been open since last summer.

    Looks like we still have some miles to do in this marathon.

    Liked by 1 person

    • I have been reading about the rising case numbers in Europe. The US is definitely NOT in lockdown mode. Just the opposite. Sometimes it feels as though the finish line moves every day.

      Liked by 1 person

  2. Laurie, I loved the points you have made, especially the “You’re almost there” when there is still a ways to go. So true in any race in life, and especially with these challenging days we are in. I received my second shot on Sunday, but am so aware that it only protects me. I can still spread to others who may be too young or chose to not gt vaccinated. These days have so been teaching me to live with the best interests of others in mind, not only my own.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Good for you for getting your second dose, Joanne. Bill and I get ours next week. Living with others’ best interests in mind is a wonderful lesson to learn from the pandemic. It’s also what Jesus taught (as you know!)

      Like

  3. Great thoughts, Laurie, and you echo a lot of what I’ve been thinking. Yesterday’s news about the J&J vaccine being withdrawn made me hit a wall, tho. My son received it about a month ago; his girlfriend and housemates were diagnosed with COVID two weeks ago. He didn’t get sick. It’s an effective vaccine and with only one dose, had really good buy-in from people who might not go for a 2-dose vaccine.

    When will this end?

    Liked by 1 person

    • Thank you, Wendy. I especially appreciate your comment since you are a health care professional. Yes, such a shame about the J&J vaccine. Most of the educators in our state got it. It sometimes seems as though the finish line is moving every day.

      Like

  4. So sorry to hear that your county/community has seen some setbacks in Covid cases, Laurie. I do hope you’ll witness a reversal of that sooner than later! Yes, these are tough times, but we all need to get to the finish line together.
    Blessings!

    Liked by 1 person

  5. Yep, follow the science. Gotta think about helping everyone as well as helping yourself. Generosity of spirit and all that. Sadly many Americans cannot or will not think about anyone other than themselves.

    Liked by 1 person

  6. Your thoughts on “you do you” made me think of a tweet I saw the other day. It talked about how it seems like views on things like covid seem to depend on whether you view yourself as an individual or as part of a collective. I had an interesting discussion with my sister about that. I think too many of us in America don’t see ourselves as part of a whole.

    Liked by 1 person

  7. I think some of what you’re calling shaming is just people sharing. Like when we live through a big storm, we talk about the horrors. Of the disaster. “our power was out for 5 days!” we said in Maryland to each other! All my food went bad! I had to stay up all night to bail water out of the basement!
    Or like survivors of incest compare in group therapy how we coped as children.
    At least that’s what a lot of us are doing, by way of seeing if we relate to others.

    we are waiting for the second shot and hope enough people get it to make us all safer. It’s like when I used to hear parents of young kids brag about not vaccinating their kids, relying on enough other good people to do it to keep their kids safe. Makes me mad.
    Some people have legit health immune problems and they aren’t able to get the vaccine… they need our help to make resuming a life safer.

    Don’t we care about others now?
    too many people talk about God but treat others badly
    IMHO
    thanks for the discussion

    Liked by 1 person

  8. So well spoken, Laurie!!!! It’s like you’ve read my mind and some of my (silent) frustrations this past year. Thank you!!!!

    Liked by 1 person

  9. When the vaccines came out in December we were at mile 20, and I feel like now we’re pretty close to mile 22, so we should either see that mile marker pretty soon or find out that we’re somehow off the course. We’ve made progress but as you say, we’re not close enough to see the finish line.

    Liked by 1 person

  10. Laurie, you share so much practical wisdom here. As for the pandemic, there are so many different views and opinions about how to live it out well . . . we each must come to the conclusion that different people/families are going to handle it in the ways that are best for them. There are so many viewpoints aobut what’s best. I’ve prayed, Hubs and I have discussed what’s best for our family, and we’re living with the best wisdom and guidance we have at this time. Other people would probably disagree with some of our decisions, and that’s okay. If there’s one thing we can practice in stressful times like this, it’s learning to give grace. Different doesn’t always equal bad.

    Great post, as always, friend.

    P.S. I love the pic of you and your honey running together in a race.

    Liked by 1 person

  11. Laurie, I am appreciating you covering this subject with grace and truth … and compassion. This has been a hard road for many and nothing is more disheartening than not validating the experiences of others and showing respect for where they’re coming from.

    WWJD.

    Liked by 1 person

  12. Thoughtful post and appreciated Laurie. I guess I have made a few “Covid-shaming” comments, but only because I meant to be funny. I can see where people might take it the wrong way (as often with humor).

    Liked by 1 person

  13. Well said, Laurie. So many important, succinct messages wrapped up here. Colorado seems to be doing a good job; Denver is lifting its ‘outdoor mask’ requirement as of Friday. I have mixed feelings…pleased to know we’ve done well; concern that we’ll lose all that progress in a ‘graduation hat tossing’ of the masks. (Hopefully not!)
    Such a challenging time. I liken this time to trying to teach a class the day before the last day of school.

    Liked by 1 person

  14. FOr me, at this point the pandemic protocols are habit. I think I’ll find it difficult to grocery-shop maskless. The other day, after shopping, Susan and I grabbed the wipes to sanitize our groceries. After a little bit of talking, we learned that neither of us think wiping down the packages is particularly important. We were both doing it to make the other person happy. I think it will be like this with distancing and masks. Even when we *could* give up the safety protocols, we’ll keep doing them just because.

    Liked by 1 person

  15. The finish line is not in sight here either Laurie … far from it and our Governor, weary with the status (like one hospital which went from 128 COVID patients to 800 COVID patients in a month’s time), has given a couple of pep talks, as has the Mayor of Detroit. They are pleading with people to be responsible and saying “yes, I know you are weary of it all – so am I!” In Detroit, the turnout for vaccines is so dismal, that a few wealthy businessmen have offered to sweeten the pot by paying $ as an incentive to get vaccines. The pandemic, has caused more than just sickness and death – it’s also shown a side of our fellow humans that would have been best left unseen.

    Liked by 1 person

    • We have been reading about Michigan and hearing about the rising number of cases on the news. That is such a shame that people are hesitant to get the vaccine. They will only work to get rid of the disease if most people get them. Good for those businessmen! You are right – the pandemic has brought out our best side and our worst.

      Liked by 1 person

      • Michigan has 8 out of every 10 teacher vaccinated, but our Governor still want’s another week’s pause to stop the spread in schools. There was a lot of reluctance before this J&J vaccine was halted and now even more people who were slated for the J&J shot and now offered the Pfizer or Moderna shots, are not taking the shot. So healthcare officials are saying it is reluctance to getting vaccinated due to unknown side effects, as opposed to people holding out for the J&J vaccine’s return (if it returns). Dr. Fauci said this morning he believes it will return, but with restrictions before it is administered.

        Liked by 1 person

      • Michigan’s teacher vaccination rate is wonderful. I don’t think PA has that high a rate. Such a shame about the J&J vaccine,. but it is good they are being cautious. Even if the blood clot rate is 1 in a million if someone you loved was that one, it would be devastating.

        Like

      • Yes, they are doing well with teachers. Schools were asked to take a voluntary pause for two weeks to help with our surge – most abided by that, so that’s good. Yes, poor people thought they getting a shot to avoid health issues and look where they ended up. My friend lives in Canada and will not get the AstraZeneca shot because of the clot problems.

        Liked by 1 person

      • Our schools did not pause, except for one day, and that wasn’t even all of the schools. So many teachers called in sick the day after their shots due to side effects, the schools had no alternative but to close.

        Liked by 1 person

      • Our City Hall had all their employees vaccinated for their second shots on a Thursday and closed City Hall on the Friday as they expected side effects. Though I had just the sore arm and fatigue from the first shot, I have more side effects today, which surprised me as I rarely get sick. My arm feels like someone stomped on it, the fatigue is worse and a few other things. But, this will pass and is well worth it in the end to be protected from COVID.

        Liked by 1 person

      • I read that more side effects means the vaccine is working more. That’s good, I guess, but not very pleasant. I hope you are feeling better soon. I’ll let you know how Bill and I fare after our second shots.

        Liked by 1 person

      • Yes, I heard that too Laurie, plus I also read it means your immune system is good and quick to act in defense of a virus or foreign body sent your way. Yes, please let me know how you and Bill far post-second shot.

        Liked by 1 person

  16. I shall remember not to encourage with ‘you are almost there’ when only a quarter of the way! I can also see how that would be frustrating as it doesn’t show that the spectator is understanding where you are actually at! I think during this pandemic, too, it’s been tough to measure where we are at. Like you mentioned, the finish line seems to get moved. It’s a trust that the finish line will show eventually as we take responsibility to run the route with grace and wisdom.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Ha! Runners will appreciate that, Lynn! 🙂 I think you are right – it is tough to tell where we are during the pandemic. I am hoping that the finish line is near, but I could be way off.

      Liked by 1 person

  17. Hi Laurie – I often feel a bit guilty reading about covid numbers from other bloggers in the US, Canada and India. We have such a different situation here in Australia and the bubble we live in makes it seem like a different world. I try not to say too much because I have no understanding of what it’s like to live with the numbers you guys deal with every day – only to say that I’m so sorry that the numbers aren’t spiralling down as fast as everyone had hoped.

    Liked by 1 person

  18. We were once hiking and were fairly close to the parking lot home when we saw a dad hiking with two young kids and a couple of puppies on leashes; the little boy asked if they were almost there and the dad replies “Yep, buddy just a bit further”… I mean I’m all for little white lies to kids that make life easier (when my kids had a 6:30 bedtime I definitely called bedtime a time or two at 6:15– they couldn’t tell time!)… but that seemed like a whopper of a lie that the kid was going to realize when an hour later dad was still saying “almost there.”

    Liked by 1 person

  19. Interesting take on COVID shaming. I would have thought it to be more people trying to shame people like me, who are more cautious. Well, I haven’t run into shaming. But from some not so much understanding. I guess grace works both ways — don’t make people feel bad for their decisions, right? That’s the bottom line.

    Great analogy, Laurie! I am actually grappling with my family getting together for my Dad’s burial. We are almost all (but not all) vaccinated. Unfortunately it also involves a very long drive for me. I am certainly going, but there are the details to work out so I am comfortable with it.

    Liked by 1 person

    • That is true, Judy. The shaming could go both ways. Many people think their level of cautiousness is the correct one and everyone else is doing it incorrectly. I hope you get the details worked out so that you can feel comfortable saying goodbye to your dad. Sending good thoughts your way. I know he passed a little while ago, but I am sure it is still a difficult time for your family.

      Liked by 1 person

  20. So wise and so true, Laurie. I keep telling my students that yes, we’re still doing masks, etc., because none of them wants to be the last casualty in the war. Your post also reminds me of one of my favorite sayings (I don’t know to whom to attribute it): “Reality is that which, when you stop believing in it, does not go away.”

    Liked by 1 person

  21. Thank you for this post Laurie. We are scheduled for our second shots next week a nd hoping for no reaction or mild ones. It is sad and frustrating that numbers are on the rise, our counties up here too. Here is hoping for better. Blessings, Michele

    Liked by 1 person

  22. We’re in that weird place here where community transmission is uncommon, & most cases are in returned travellers in mandatory quarantine. It means life is almost normal here even though only a small proportion of the community has been vaccinated. Where we’ve been lucky is our government has always taken its advice and acted on the advice of the Chief Medical Officers. It’s always been about the science. Having said that, there’s always been a percentage of the community that has engaged in behaviour and opinions that is contrary to that.

    Liked by 1 person

  23. I hope no one tells me I’m almost there at mile 20 of my first marathon! York’s covid numbers have been climbing too… Jason gets his second shot on Sunday. I’ve been guilty of trying to shame my parents a bit into getting the vaccine as well as taken an understanding and informative stance, but they haven’t budged so I’ve given up trying.

    Liked by 1 person

    • I hope you don’t hear “you’re almost there” at mile 20 too. There are not too many spectators along that course, though. You should be OK. Good for Jason! I hope marathon training is going well for you. She should be almost up to your highest mileage weeks.

      Liked by 1 person

  24. ❤ We are getting our second dose on Tuesday, and keeping an eye on when vaccines open for the 12+ demographic for our son. We do try to follow the science. We are getting our vaccines, wearing our masks and really only participating in outdoor activities. We are way more cautious than some, less cautious than others, and barring the anti-mask/anti-vax/COVID-denier crew, I think so many are just trying to do the best they can. We have a long way to go on this, and no matter what, the longterm fallout (both on lives and our society) is going to be critical and terrible. 😦

    Liked by 1 person

  25. So true. I know so many who aren’t taking the pandemic seriously–haven’t since the beginning, and still don’t. They only follow precautions when absolutely required to. I don’t wish the virus on anyone, but I sometimes am tempted to wish these people who get a taste of it. I saw some meme on FB about “My immune system will take care of me”–as if they didn’t need to do anything else. It will help, but since people die or suffer long-term damage from this, no, a good immune system isn’t all that’s needed.

    Liked by 1 person

    • I am tempted to wish the same thing, Barbara. I know that is not the response I should be feeling, and I fight against it. I think I am healthy because I run, but my immune system is still 64 years old.

      Liked by 1 person

  26. I don’t think I’ve ever heard the term “covid shaming” but do know what it is. I wonder if I am guilty of it? I have said things like “I’ve eaten out only twice since March 2020”. Bottom line is stop judging others. 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

  27. Over in the UK our numbers are going down, but we are now opening up again and it’s scary that the figures might go up again despite the vaccinations. I am not taking any risks, no I haven’t been out but I don’t have to. It gets a bit frustrating seeing others enjoying themselves, and angry at those breaking the restrictions, but I don’t shame anyone. We will get across that finish line one day, but we do need to work together on this one, it’s not just the fastest runner who need to win. Such an honest and thought-provoking post.

    Liked by 1 person

    • So, I have a very personal reason to hope that the UK numbers go way down quickly. I am supposed to run the London Marathon in October. I hope it really happens. It will be hard to get used to going out again, even when we are fully vaccinated. I somehow don’t quite trust it yet. Thank you, Anne.

      Like

  28. I’m sorry that cases are on the rise again where you are. Numbers still seem to be dropping here but it will be interesting to see how things opening up again affects that. I do love how you’ve shared your thoughts about reaching the finish line with running and related that to the current world situation with Covid. We are definitely not ‘almost there’ – I’m very much with you on that. We are much nearer to the finish line than we were but it is not in sight yet. I agree too that we all need to work together to try and help bring us closer and closer to that finish line. I think many of us are guilty at times of virtue-signalling, especially over this last year! It’s true though that it isn’t about one-upmanship and we need to give each other grace especially when we’re trying to get through as best we can under the current circumstances. #MMBC

    Liked by 1 person

    • I am sorry they are on the rise too. About half of our county has had at least one shot and they are administering them at a rapid pace, but they are trying to outrace pandemic fatigue and the variants. Thanks for your comment, Louise.

      Like

  29. Here we are a long way away from the vaccine finish line but quite fortunate in other ways. I have been wondering whether cases will rise in the places where the vaccine is being rolled out because have gone back to ‘normal’ in full swing. But I do agree that shaming people publicly or privately is not helpful. We had issues here where people would shame the one or two people who apparently went to certain areas when infected. The thing is we don’t know the whole story and they may not have known they were infected at the time and also, people are less likely to come forward for testing if shamed.

    Liked by 1 person

    • I think about half the people in our county have had at least 1 shot. They are going really fast now, trying to outpace the variants and people letting their guard down. We get our second shot next week. Whew! Your country handled the pandemic so well. Much better than mine did!

      Like

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s