I thought it best to note down the stress and anxiety these past couple of months has given me in relation to the whole Covid affair. Both what it means to be a believer during this season as well as what is going on in the media.
Back in January my brother, his daughter (my niece), her boyfriend all got Covid. In my brother’s case it was somewhat worrying because we all fall into the higher risk category of being members of the BAME community (I so hate that category description but for the sake of time will use it here), and being over 50. I can thank God that everyone has recovered but my brother had a rough game with it – to the degree of not having to resort to going to hospital. He did get as far as having to call an ambulance at one stage which was quietly terrifying for us all.
After his family bubble had Covid, I’d heard that my sister’s youngest got Covid while working in London. My sister and brother in law are currently shielding during this lockdown and so again, to hear news of this virus reaching closer family members who are not normally going out to get exposed was disquieting. My nephew rode the illness ‘like a pro’ and has made a full recovery. I am currently in a bubble with my two kids and my mother who is 86 years of age. For a year now it has always been in the back of my mine to do everything that I can to ensure that my mother is kept safe as well as myself and the kids. My mental state has understandably had its ups and downs as a result
So, good old Boris – our esteemed Prime Minister – has been pushing ahead with the objective of getting the nation vaccinated in order for ‘things to get back to normal’.
Since news of the development of a vaccine came about toward the middle of last year, I had been quietly hopeful. But I admit this turned into scepticism when I noted the speed with which the solutions went to market, as well as being wary of some of the ingredients listed as being contained in some of the vaccines available. As a Christian one might assume that I would be very much against any form of vaccination, but in my case myself and my children have been fully vaccinated against all of the main worldwide infections and diseases. I think coming from a family of nurses greatly influenced that. So as any parent would do, I began to research and look into getting vaccinated versus playing ‘Russian Roulette’ and not.
On the one hand, my current employer was – shall we say – persuasive in their eagerness for all employees to get vaccinated. Back towards the end of February, only 49% of staff members had their first shot. When I had initially mentioned to my manager that I was still considering what to do I was met with a bit of a mini ‘push’ to make my decision sooner rather than later. I was pleased to see though that this hard sell drastically reduced and I was pretty much left to digest all avenues of thought before coming to my final decision.
I am also part of a social media group, the majority of which are turning out to be what might be referred to as “anti-vaxxers”. On a regular basis I’m witnessing information which is suppose to help us all make the right choice. What I am quickly seeing is the definition of ‘right choice’ is different to what I have found myself, my employers (the NHS) and my nursing family members.
Long story short, I have now had both shots of the AZ vaccine. My family members who are also NHS key workers have all had theirs. All of our outlook is one of ensuring that our family is kept safe. Let’s be clear, we can all still get Covid, however the severity with which it hits our bodies will be less fatal than before. But here is the corker – I cannot bring myself to be honest with this group.
Not saying anything about my decision has unfortunately been rooted in fear – fear that other believers in Christ will not view me with compassion, will not be sympathetic to my stance and ultimately will be hostile to me. I am sure that this is all unfounded but when I am around individuals who refer to vaccinated people as “Sheeples” and who share posts that are proven as factually incorrect or contradictory, I cannot help but think I will be judged.
The point of this short blog is to advise any believer who has chosen to have the vaccine to not fall into the trap that I did. Do not beat yourself up like I did. I do intend to answer anyone who asks me that I have indeed taken the vaccine without fear of rejection by them. In spite of the fact that I prayed to God, received in such a profound way an answer to the effect of going for it because ‘what man meant for evil, God turns for good’, at the end of the day, if you have extensively done your research and drawn the conclusion that you will have the vaccine then let no man condemn you.
Likewise if you have prayed to God, extensively done your research and concluded that you will not have the vaccine then let no society nor man condemn you either!
In closing, when I had to bring my fear of what others will think of me to the Lord, I was reminded of Luke 12:4 and 5 in the Bible where Jesus said:
“I tell you, my friends, do not be afraid of those who kill the body and after that can do no more. But I will show you whom you should fear: Fear him who, after your body has been killed, has authority to throw you into hell. Yes, I tell you, fear him”Luke 12:4-5 NIV
So long as I had brought my dilemma to God first and got His green light to proceed, I should not have allowed any energy towards fuelling my fears.