"Take It!"

Yogi Berra, the Hall of Fame catcher, manager, is known for his clever and nonsensical sayings like, “When you come to a fork in the road, take it!” I think that if Yogi found himself in these Covid-19 Pandemic times we find ourselves in, he would have remarked, “If you can get a vaccine, take it!”

Monique and I have been fortunate enough to join the 92 million (at the time of this writing) who have already been vaccinated. She received the Pfizer doses through her heart doctor. I took two doses of the Moderna vaccine through state law enforcement. I serve them as a chaplain. Neither of us had any side effects other than a slight stiffness on the day after in the upper arm at the site of the shot.

Image Credit: Daniel Schuldi
www.unspash.com

What does all of this mean for us? We want  to get back into our normal life once again! After a year of coronavirus sabbaticals, we want to return to in-person work assignments, church attendance at the building, and visits with family near and far. We like to eat out in a restaurant on occasions, and spend time with close friends. We miss having our family over for a cook-out and meal together. And yes, we are weary of our masks and social distancing although these mitigation exercises have served us well the past twelve months. 

We believe that the best and most strategic way to "herd immunity" and to "tamp down" this Pandemic is for every American to get vaccinated. But, we realize that there are many who are reluctant to get the shot because of fear, misinformation and maybe even politics! We accept that this is America and everyone is entitled to their opinions and choices! 

Recently, our local nurse practitioner affirmed me for getting the vaccine. She told me (and of course, without any name attached) how one person had objected to getting the Covid-19 vaccine because this woman believed that the virus was not any greater threat than the seasonal flu.  This very responsible health care professional tried, without success, to reason with the lady by stating the facts, "The flu kills 30,000 on average each year, but the Coronavirus has already taken over 525,000 lives!" Many of us can attest that this was no ordinary flu!

I have a close family member who has had two opportunities so far to get the vaccine from the local health department, but is still making excuses. I have repeatedly offered my counsel out of great concern, "The next time they call, please take it!" All we can do is model the right thing and hope that others will eventually follow through. After all, it is a personal decision. I get that!

I think of how opportunities pass us by so quickly. In the Greek, there is the word kairos translated time. This kind of time is not what you see on a clock or watch. (That's chronos!). Kairos time is about a proper or opportune moment to take action. It's like the popular expression: Carpe Diem! Seize the moment! One of my favorite biblical stories is about how Bartimaeus, the blind man, cried out to Jesus one day as he passed through Jericho on his way to Jerusalem and the cross. 

Bartimaeus angered some in the crowd when he shouted, "Jesus, Son of David, have mercy on me!" I suspect they thought he was spouting blasphemy in ascribing Jesus the title of a "Son of David!" But he was accurate in shouting so! Jesus performed two miracles that day in this man's life. He saved him and gave him sight! Though Jesus followed up His miracle with this saying, "Go, for your faith has healed you." The man chose not to go his way, but chose instead to "follow Jesus down the road." Bartimaeus seized the moment! He acted when given the opportunity! (Mark 10:46-52 NLT).

I know this is a biblical story about salvation and receiving sight. However, it points out the importance of seeing an opportunity that is life-changing and like Yogi says, "taking it!" Let's encourage others to "join the herd" of those vaccinated!

Mike Keppler, retired pastor, 
active churchman and
doting grandparent. 
Contact: drmjkeppler@gmail.com 


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