I am thankful.
I heard stories of what the polio vaccine was like, a bit before I was born: an amazing miracle that kept children from crippling injury or death. My Nana told stories about the pandemic after World War I and going to visitations and funerals for so many of her friends. I suffered from chicken pox, no joke that, and now am happy that no child need do so again.
The vaccine for Covid is here and now is in my veins and I feel fine. I stood in line for the Pfizer vaccine at Houston Methodist and understood a bit what they felt in the 1920’s and 1950’s.
Let’s not exaggerate. This 2020 virus was, certainly, bad, but not 1919 bad. Yet I knew too many very sick, some hospitalized, some gone to glory, to think this virus was nothing, not a worry. Like everyone else, I took in the data and tried to make good decisions this last year. A person could listen to the experts and hear many things, but the virus kept going forward. Leave aside what we should have or should not have done last year: the vaccine is here.
This is good news. The Houston Methodist crew was professional and the lines were Disneyland smooth. They were moving us forward professionally, personally, and productively. Everyone with me in the line kept talking about the year that was and the hopes for the year to come. I thought of our trip to Estonia, the gala at Saint Constantine, magical days and then lock down. My wife has called me a hobbit, never happy to leave Saint Annes, but this was a hobbit trapped in the hobbit hole unable to go to the Green Dragon. At some point in the line, I felt thankful and glad.
The workers were excellent. The system was smooth. The science was amazing. This is not Utopia, troubles will come, but is better than it was. Like the polio vaccine, I assume the outcomes will not be perfect. No human work is! We no longer fear polio for our children as once my grandparents did. Many diseases once feared are gone.
When I say, “Thank God.” a weird sort of person asks:”Why thank God? Shouldn’t you thank the scientists and the creators of the vaccine?”
My Nana’s generation, far more religious than my own, thanked God for the end of influenza and the polio vaccine. Her generation is now, almost, entirely gone to God, but they were, like all of us, mostly in no hurry to go. Death is fearful whatever reason tells us comes next! One can be sure he is ready for the test and still be nervous. She thanked God that He allowed His children, created in His image, to devise cures and palliatives to disease.
Eventually we all die, but we need not rush.
The knowledge that God was ultimately in control did not prevent Nana from also thinking the scientists that gave her generation vaccines were heroes. They worked hard and gave treatments and vaccines. God reigned, people served. Good people gave us vaccines, bad people gulags. Science in good hands is marvelous! When a scientist solves a problem caused by the brokenness of the world, then all the angels rejoice. Humanity has done a good thing to compensate for the bad thing we did and the evils we do.
The scientific method, the marvels of science, must never be taken for granted. These precious goods are the fruit of a long cultural progress that began in the Christian Middle Ages, but had many contributors. These methods and ways of thinking, found by those first Christian scholars, are now used by people of many beliefs to do good. May God bless all of them.
Science can be misused by people, but science is a powerful tool for good in the hands of people. I am thankful to those people!