I got my COVID vaccine. This is not a post about to vaccinate or not. I’m not sure this even qualifies as a post about the vaccine, because this could have happened with a variety of situations.
My vaccine center was a drive through process. The first visit, I was given a card. Because so many people were driving through, each of us was handed a card that had all the important information about the vaccine and an appointment date and time for the second shot, but it didn’t have my name on it. Yes, my paperwork was checked. But it was my responsibility to write my name and birthdate on my card.
Which I didn’t.
I went back for my second shot and handed someone my card. The man told me how to keep track of it, some ideas for taking care of it, etc., then he added with a smile, “…and you might want to add your name.”
For a fairly responsible, organized person, I failed. And laughed at myself. How did I miss it? Well, I know how. I received the card, slipped it in a safe place in my wallet, and left it there. You can be sure my card was correctly and completely filled out by the end of the day.
I realized, had I left my card somewhere, anyone else could have claimed it as their own. Sure, records wouldn’t have matched up if anyone dug for details, but that’s not the point. When we don’t attach our name to something, what do we stand to lose?
I know it’s common practice to put our names on important documents of ownership, but how well do we claim the intangibles? How willing are we to boldly say, “Yes. This is part of who I am.” One step farther, how willing are we to deal with the questions and doubts that come with the identity? Take faith, for example. I know many Christians who are willing to post someone on social media that says, “Most people won’t share this post, but I’m not afraid or ashamed: I am a Christian and proud of it.” They will put a sticker on their car and wear a shirt or jewelry with a cross on it. They will claim their faith if asked, but what about subtle conversations?
Am I willing to have difficult, uncomfortable conversations? I hope so. I find many people are ready with answers but not equipped to walk alongside someone through the journey of doubts, baggage, accusations, and experiences. We like the faith journey to be linear.
It is not.
Maybe it’s not other people’s doubts, baggage, accusations, and experiences that pause, alarm, or offend us as much as our own. Maybe having answers is easier than wrestling through questions. Maybe once we answer a few core questions, we think the others aren’t important.
Those questions impact our faith, whether they are our questions or someone else’s. If we ignore them, the questions often grow. It’s as if we allow spacers to insert into our faith, and over time, they widen gaps that create issues. We don’t need to fill the gaps with answers we are certain about. Sometimes we fill gaps with conversations that help us pursue God’s truth and character.
Sometimes we write our names with no hesitation, and sometimes we leave the option open by leaving some blanks or writing in pencil. It’s a risky move.
But faith has risks, too. Some risks have more value than others.
Anonymity is not truly anonymous if I admit it is mine.