I have been thinking a lot about the word “immunity” since I listened to the whole Venn Diagram of an Aaron Rodgers interview Friday afternoon. In it, he says he used the word “immunized” when asked if he had been vaccinated because he believed he had developed a natural immunity to COVID-19.
I am fully vaccinated, but I am not immune. I think it’s a dangerous word and I wonder if any of us is immune from or to anything.
We are not immune from the temptations of the internet, of finding pockets of validation for our beliefs and hanging out there until we are convinced that We. Know. Everything.
We are not immune to the disappointment we can feel when we realize the quarterback we worship because he throws a perfect Hail Mary might not always be full of grace.
We are not immune from the kind of unearned arrogance that allows us to feel justified in our rage and unable to see that all of those powerful emotions stem from our shared and very human fear, especially during this challenging time in our world.
We work hard to immunize ourselves from terrible things like crime and disease but the truth is that, though we can mitigate our exposure to these things, we can’t entirely protect ourselves or our families from them. We’re all vulnerable to the things we fear.
In a perfect world, that fear would unite us. It would inspire us to pool our intellectual resources to identify and solve actual issues; to seek facts and listen to people with whom we don’t agree; to admit that we are vulnerable and that, sometimes, we are wrong.
But, we’re having trouble in this information age discerning facts from propaganda, possibly because we have to dig deep to find the former and we get blasted from every device we own with the latter. So, we retreat to our caves of comfort and soothe ourselves with the echoes we find there.
Still, we’re still not immune to anything, neither the accusations of others nor the judgements we make, not pain, illness or death. The best defense we have against all of that is our equally human drive to love and be loved, to make decisions in the best interest of our communities, especially their most vulnerable members.
We are all at once fallible beings and divine miracles of life trying hard each day to do what’s right. Not one of us is immunized against our own mortality, but we’re all well-armed with the ability to make the most of the time we have.
So, let’s do that, shall we?