In eighth grade at Dean Junior High in English class our teacher had us read an essay on America being a “melting pot”. America’s greatness was defined and determined by the diversity among its people from all over the world. At homeroom every day we said the Pledge of Allegiance to reaffirm that we were One Nation Under God. Yet, beneath those truths then and now how much were we, and are we truly being great in our diversity? How much are we truly united as One Under God?
Every day we see others open up their pocketbooks and their hearts to take care of their brothers and sisters who need food, clothing, and shelter. Many who have been orphaned from hope in America like my muscles were after polio when they were no longer connected to nerves which died with the virus.
We have social media to entertain us and bring us closer to one another. Or, the same technology which isolates us from others. Or, drive us apart with misinformation and falsehoods.
We have Covid-19 and now Delta. Just as we began to see Covid in our rearview mirrors, we face the prospect of Delta wave after wave. We hope masking and social distancing will be enough to prevent crowded ICUs, suffering, and death.
We have Covid vaccines to prevent suffering as I experienced with polio in 1954. I was one of 300,000 polio victims in that year. My parents had no vaccine to spare me of my fate. I can say with absolute certainty, because of the vaccine and the work of Jonas Salk, that hundreds of millions of children around the world will never know the suffering they missed. What I cannot forget and have to live with every day. Thankfully, with Rotary International’s work to eradicate polio, there is only a hand full of cases in the entire world each year.
In 1955 it was everyone’s public duty to get the polio vaccine. To protect themselves and others from harm. All children were inoculated at schools without being faced with strong opposition by doubters. Now, many believe that the Covid vaccines will cause more harm than Covid or Delta.
We are faced with a choice. What is best for America’s public health and the individual’s private right to choose not to get vaccinated? That right includes the parental choice to not have their children vaccinated.
A simple Google search shows a range of opinions from the Moderna’s vaccine being a miracle from God or to being an agent of the Devil. Science and the CDC say that the benefits of the vaccines outweigh the risks. Private posts claim that the vaccines alter human DNA, have a mind-control chip planted in them, or cause sterility in women. The line between truth and fiction is blurred. In all of this how many of us think about how God wants us to deal with getting vaccinated?
So, where is this prayer going? Am I just rambling? Well, God gives each of us the right to choose. To believe or disbelieve. To listen in prayer to God and carefully consider God’s will in making choices.
Many of my dearest friends and family have chosen to get vaccinated just like me. Many of those I love and who love me have chosen not to get vaccinated. Whether vaccinated or not I choose not to judge them. I choose to love. I choose to respect the rights of others to make choices. I choose to believe that we can be more of that One America. To be great in the diversity of our people. To respect the opinions of others which form our present and shape our future. I choose to pray to God and to listen to find calm wisdom. To be informed by God to do the right thing for me, for others, and for you. I believe that if we all listen to God we will do what is best for our Country, our brothers and sisters.
God has spoken in Scripture about finding hope, healing, and direction in such messy times as ours today.
The Lord says, “I will guide you along the best pathway for your life. I will advise you and watch over you.
And I will give you shepherds after my own heart, who will guide you with knowledge and understanding.
Let us pray together.
God, in prayer please show us the way to be one and to be great in our diversity as Your people.
God, please help us not judge others for their right to decide whether to be vaccinated from Covid 19.
God, in prayer please inform us of Your will as we decide whether or not to get vaccinated.
Last, whether or not we are vaccinated, please shine Your light on each of us to protect us from infection and harm from Covid-19, the Delta, or any other mutation which comes our way. Amen
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Jack H. Emmott is a Senior Counsel of Gray, Reed & McGraw, LLP, a 145-lawyer full-service firm in Houston, Dallas, and Waco, Texas, a Board-Certified Family Law and Master Credentialed Collaborative Law Professional Divorce Attorney, Mediator, Author, Entrepreneur, and Inspirational Speaker. For more information about Jack or his latest book, Bending Angels: Living Messengers of God’s Love, go to www.BendingAngel.com website.