“Love your neighbor as yourself.” ~ Mark 12:31
Life is a journey of experience, discovery, and
learning. When we look back, we see things in new and different ways. If we could go back and relive our lives, we might make some of the same decisions a second time, but we would make some different ones as well. I would like to share one instance in my own life, now that I have learned a little and have started making different choices. Let’s talk about vaccines. Every time I got close to a medical professional when I was in my thirties, they would ask me if I had gotten my flu shot. Having had the flu exactly once in my life, I rarely got the shot. My reply was, “But, I never get sick!” The doctor or nurse would roll their eyes and leave the room. It is not until now, that public health is the conversation du jour that the deeper purpose for getting a vaccine comes to light. While it is true a vaccination will help you from getting sick, most importantly, it may prevent you from getting someone else sick.
Back in the day, there was a silly party game called Seven Degrees of Kevin Bacon. The game suggests that we are all separated by no more than seven relationships. That may or may not be true, but, we are all more connected and much closer then it first appears. Decisions that I make affect others- lots of others. Decisions that you make affect others. That is the reality of our time. There is deep spiritual meaning to this if we ever give it a chance, but that will be for another newsletter article.
So, let’s now talk about reality. This virus has an R-naught value of 2.8- that means that if you get the virus you will probably get 2.8 other people sick. And each of those people will get another 2.8 people sick. It doesn’t take long before someone with a compromised immune system contracts the virus and gets life threateningly ill. That is a lot to have on your conscience. I would spare you that.
In the end, it’s not about you! And, that is the deeper reason why thinking people get the vaccine. It is less about keeping you healthy and more about stopping the spread to vulnerable people. This is one way that we love our neighbors as we love ourselves. Curiously enough, you can do both at the same time!
Now, if your doctor has advised you to not receive the vaccine for medical reasons, follow your doctor’s recommendation. But if you can, do. It is because some can’t tolerate this immunization that the rest of us should. If enough of us are vaccinated, we can slow the spread to a stopping point. That is how we beat smallpox. That is how we will beat this.
So, love your neighbor. Get the vaccine.
Grace and peace,