I have a confession to make. Most of the time I really like to keep the rules. I pay attention. This has been particularly true in this time of Covid where I have looked to our top doctor in BC (Dr. Bonnie Henry) and tried as best I can to follow her advice. It makes sense to me, and as she often says, Be calm, be kind, be safe.
Following rules generally helps me to feel safe. And when I observe others not following the rules, or perhaps bending them – a little or a lot – creates anxiety for me.
These are anxious times. I am well aware that I am not alone in my feelings. I have to balance those feelings of safety with determination to be kind, to be calm.
One of the tools that has best helped me to understand myself is the Enneagram. It is a wonderful personality and analysis tool that helps us understand ourselves and others. There are positives to every personality trait and a shadow side. One bent I have is keeping rules and ordering my world accordingly. That can make me rigid at times. Others I have known well like to make the rules, or even change them if they aren’t suitable or don’t make sense. Sometimes that can be a little scary for a rule-keeper!
One funny story I like to tell is about my mom who was loving and kind and mostly kept the rules – accept when they didn’t make sense. We cheated all the time when we played golf, she would just help the ball out a little. One day I was horrified when she wanted to park the car where I thought it was illegal, but it made perfect sense to her – the parking lot was empty! If the rules didn’t work, she was happy to toss them. We learned to laugh about our different responses to rules.
And quite honestly I can go there too. One of the mottos I have learned in a life caring for others is that people matter far more than rules. Sometimes in an institution or establishment one has to consider the circumstance and the individual before making judgement or enforcing rules that no longer work. Not all rules work for everyone. We should be “ruled” by compassion and love, willing to change as needed.
Still, in these times, I have grown to respect and listen to the medical doctors and experts who often have had a lifetime of learning in their field. I have been thankful for the humility I’ve seen and the admission that they are learning too as they work hard to keep us safe. They are human too, and that humility and honesty has impressed me.
Yes, we are all weary of the virus that doesn’t seem to be weary or slowing down. I’m thankful for rules and guidelines that help us to know how to live and show us how to stay as safe as possible.
In the midst of it, I am mindful to be ruled by love. For that is the best rule of all.