Family & Relationships

​​​July 11, 2019

Vaccination of Societal Ills

A few years ago, I ran into an old acquaintance and she informed me that she had started reading my book and  that she was not able to finish it.  She said that it was “too much” for her to read – too difficult, she indicated.  I nodded my head as I listened to her speak about events that had taken place in her life recently but all the while I was thinking.  Wow – my life, my experiences, my journey thus far is just too difficult for some people to take.  She wasn’t the first to make such a remark and I’m sure that she won’t be the last. I guess everybody can’t take me at 100 proof.

In the past, I wrestled with the notion that people might not want to hear me talk about my life and the journey that I as an individual have made thus far.  But then I realized that my life matters.  My experiences matter and if one person can talk freely about their lovely experiences, then the next person should be just as free to discuss their not-so-lovely experiences.  Lovely or no-so, we all have a life full of experiences that we must not only own but also share.  Now let me be perfectly clear.  I said share – not complain or become a “Debbie Downer” and definitely not bashing others – Share.  Perhaps if there is more of this genuine and authentic “sharing” taking place, then we can vaccinate the world of some of the issues that have plagued us for many generations over. 

Yes, I said vaccinate.  Most people think that they can only catch things that involve their physical health.  You know, a cold or flu, chicken pox, measles or that certain itch or burn that requires that “clinic visit.”  Every year around my birthday in October, I can count on seeing advertisements for the flu vaccine.  We – most of us – vaccinate our children from the time they are born through high school and even as adults, we often need to have “boosters.”  Ten common vaccines administered to children serve to prevent 14 diseases – Hepatitis A & B, Hib, Influenza, PCV13, Polio, Rotavirus, Varicella, DTaP and MMR – and while there is a community of individuals that decides against the vaccination of their own children for various reasons, the process of vaccination has undoubtedly served to produce immunity that protects individuals from an infection without causing them to have to suffer from that infection.   Most vaccines are able to accomplish this because they contain a little bit of the disease germ that is either weakened and while they will not make you sick, they will expose your body to the potential culprit so that if and when you come into contact with the real thing, your body is equipped to fight and not be blindsided.  If your cells are never exposed to any potential harm, then you become susceptible to all harm and as so, I believe that this is the way it works with our non-biological selves.  

The reality is that we live in a world that is, at times, simply wicked.  Many individuals are or have been afflicted with some real issues out here.  People are without the basic necessities… homelessness is real.  Poverty is real.  Mental illness is real.  Abuse exists… bullying, domestic violence, rape… Gun Violence… Terrorism… Depression and anxiety… Child molestation… … Low self-esteem… I could go on and on…

To make the matter even worse, one afflicted individual has the potential to “infect” countless others just by virtue of being connected to them in one way or another.  Prevention is the best medicine and it can be accomplished by using these unfortunate experiences to inform and educated others.  It is time to be real and accept real – in every way, shape, form and fashion.  It is time to embrace truth and seek solutions to longstanding problems and just as painful as it is when that sharp needle pierces the skin and you feel the burn of the vaccine as it is pushed through that fatty tissue, it will be painful to have those difficult conversations, deal with those uncomfortable circumstances and hear those painful stories.  But in the long run, we will understand one another better which will make us better equipped to fight for, stand by and believe in one each other. I believe that is a pretty good start.