I invited a former neighbor to a Buddhist meeting on zoom in late December 2020. Due to COVID we do not meet in person. She participated regularly until about 2 months ago. Yesterday, she told me that she wanted to take a break. My first thought was to say, of course that’s okay. But then I thought she did not say why she wanted to take a break, so I asked. She said she felt excluded because the neighborhood meetings are on zoom and the once a month meetings at our center require proof of vaccination. Friend is adamant about not getting the vaccine. Religion is not a topic that I want to show up as confrontational. I did say, it was her choice not be a part of the meetings at the center which require proof of vaccination. Her response, ” I don’t believe I should do something that would jeopardize my health.” I told her I agreed. In truth, the literature she has sent me that her supports her belief that vaccines are harmful is not convincing and when I asked her about it, she said she had not read it.
I want to show up differently next time I see her. We are in weekly fitness classes.
This is where I am at:
C – Mona said she wanted to take a break from Buddhism because she feels excluded due to the vaccine requirement
T – What is the real reason?
F – Distrust
A – Ask why she wants to take a break, she says other centers do not exclude, I ask if these other centers do not require the vaccine, no direct response, she says “I joined because I want to be with the people.”
R – Suspicion
I think I am behaving like a bad Buddhist by not being nice about her decision. For all I know, it’s temporary. I want to get to a place where I can see her and respect her. Actually, there is more to the story. She confided in February that she had stopped drinking and she credited Buddhism. It didn’t occur to me until later that 1. she did not look healthy and 2. she has started drinking again. So, I definitely want to feel respect maybe even love when I see her. Any guidance right now – I am stuck in suspicion and judgment.