Potato salad just might be one of my favorite things in this world.
AND, I am exceedingly fussy about my potato salad. There should be no pickles. There should be hard boiled eggs. A mayonnaise-based dressing. Celery, not too much onion. The potatoes should be on the firm side, and stay intact--mashed potatoes, while awesome, are a very different dish.
Each of my requirements above is really just a preference. I will not die if someone slips some diced pickle into the mixture, though I will likely grumble.
My mother, on the other hand, is seriously allergic to mustard. She NEEDS to know if a recipe contains mustard, if she'd like to keep her airways open.
When I can, I keep mustard out of food when she's around. But this evening, after I made a gallon of my beloved dish, without the usual scoop of stone ground mustard, I found out that the Kraft Mayo already in the batch? Well, the company reformulated their mayo. Despite my best efforts, Mom will need to skip the potato salad at our family barbecue tomorrow.
This example involves just a couple of people and some pretty clear-cut boundaries. We live in a great big world, though, with so very many relationships to balance, so many variables. What do we need to consider for the safety and comfort of all in our communities?
Coordinating Sunday School, I have an extensive list of allergies, health conditions, and needs of our students--things to consider as we plan events and lessons.
In the wider church community, we are often balancing needs--how might we decorate for the holidays without throwing anyone into an asthma flare? How do we need to shift culture and find equipment so everyone can hear? Are all of our doors and hallways and restrooms accessible to people with mobility issues?
There are so many questions with financial, logistical, and relational angles to consider. Sometimes there's an easy technical solution, something we could solve in ten minutes, or before the next worship service. Other times there are meetings with stakeholders and maybe even architects and engineers, then a capital campaign and lots of dust.
Draw the circle wide.
Welcome whenever and however you can.
And remember, Epi-pens do not take the place of medical attention.