I’m really not offering any great scientific insights here, just some spiritual ones.
“Herd immunity” is the way we collectively fight against things like viruses, and to this day it is not fully understood. But herd immunity is why for many of us a childhood episode of the Measles was just a minor childhood ailment, but for some Native Americans and Pacific Islanders it can be absolutely deadly. Geographic isolation prevented exposure to certain diseases, but it also prevented exposure to herd immunity. Being exposed to germs is not always a bad thing. What doesn’t kill you makes you stronger and often those around you stronger, too.
In 2014 we finally finished some studies that were able to prove that the reason why the Spanish flu of 1918 killed so many children and young people, but spared many of the elders, was because older people had built immunities up from a prior virus that helped them to fight off the more deadly Spanish flu. Children and young people had not been alive when that virus moved through the population. They had no defenses.
Also, the Spanish flu was not necessarily more deadly or bigger and badder than anything we’d seen before, the war was raging, so we were sending young people all over the world into some dire conditions. Close quarters, stress, poverty, a lack of food, war, laying in wet trenches, more war, all bad things for fighting a virus. What began as a flu virus in Kansas became pretty much a man-fueled and man-made global pandemic.
Herd immunity plays a role in some vaccines, too. Smallpox for example, was pretty much eradicated. There’s a downside to that, however. Our kids have no immunity to smallpox, are no longer vaccinated against it, and we have no idea what, if any, future diseases they might be vulnerable too, due to that lack of immunity.
Okay, now onto the real problem, the totally less reasonable one, the root of the matter. We really need a vaccine against the herd itself! Seriously, “teh stoopid” is downright legendary. I am not nearly as afraid of dying from a deadly virus as I am afraid of being alive and totally at the mercy of a tribe of idiotic wildebeests who don’t have a clue.
There is a slight possibility I have trust issues.
Like, I don’t want to just put a pancake on my head and hop like a bunny into the giant line forming behind the pharmaceutical company eager to give us all the mark of the beast. Heck, I struggle to follow the stupid green and red one way lines at the grocery store and smile politely at all the people confidently wearing the same gloves all day with dirty masks on their faces. I’m not afraid of your germs at all, I’m far more afraid of your ignorance.
There, I said it. It’s true, too.
I am laughing here, but knowledge is not power, it is just a perpetual, mind numbing, chronic, anxiety attack. Those who envy wisdom don’t have it.
This has been a struggle my whole life and I think it might be a struggle for others, too. I’ve had to deal with some resentment about being left behind on a planet full of stoopid people, where my own survival is going to be closely related to things like collectivism and herd immunities. But not just stoopid people, totally depraved people. Like, I know perfectly well that a good chunk of the wildebeests will value their own greed and lusts for power, way more than they value my life.
The challenge, should you choose to accept it, is to attempt to place some trust in a bunch of ignorant and totally depraved wildebeests who pretty much perceive you either as a commodity to be exploited or an obstacle to be removed. “Some” trust. Like, use your brain, but just the same, you have to trust somebody at some point, at least a little bit.
It’s a bit funny, Christians sometimes accuse me of “not seeing sin” or being too “touchy feely” or believing “there’s no such thing as bad people, just good people who do bad things.” Those are all lovely ideas, but they really don’t apply to me, and it is downright comical to suggest that I have on any rose colored glasses on when it comes to the true nature of human beings. And human beings in groups are downright terrifying. Collective human intelligence is almost worse than individual foolishness!
So, in this walk with Jesus I have learned that I have to trust people a wee bit, even our leadership, even when it’s being foolish, but harder still, I have to find a way to love and forgive the foolish, the blind, the stupid, the greedy, the power hungry, and even the downright dangerous.
Somebody recently said to me, “I just want us to get this quarantine right and get this over with.” We won’t. It’s a feature, not a bug! There are people involved. When there are people involved, failure on several levels is always assured.
Confront your fears, forgive, and love them anyway, over and over and over again. God is in the saint making business, making saints not so much out of other people, but out of YOU.
Also, take a nap. Naps are Divine. God’s got this thing and our worries, our fears, our anxieties, do not add one day to our lives.