Recently, my Queen of the castle voiced ambivalence about her decision to go-ahead and receive one of the COVID vaccinations. Her potentially life-changing conclusion came with great consideration over several dinner table discussions, listening to others’ perspectives, and using the Google for “research.” This topic of social distancing, safety guidelines, and the pandemic in general has unequivocally caused some emotional turbulence in all of us over the last year; so, why would we expect the decision to receive or not receive the vaccine be any easier?

Some might say that my wife should have been jumping for joy the minute she was notified of her “essential” status that confirmed her being just tall enough to get on the latest and most exhilarating thrill-ride in the park. Others might suggest she remain skeptical, or even have further cynicism, and not just hop on the bandwagon. Today’s social demands, unfortunately, seem to screen the beauty of grey and encourage polarization, meanwhile, de-emphasizing personal integrity, compassion for others, and faith.

Throughout the pandemic, my wife (as well as I) has maintained skepticism about the many facets of how the pandemic has been handled. However, what seems to be an increasingly unpopular stance in today’s society, she has chosen to remain quite reserved in expressing her view on this social matter, as she often does. Her silence may be due in part to the fear of public scrutiny for having a dissimilar opinion, which, I would venture to say just about everyone has felt, to some degree, either unheard or even attacked for simply having an opinion in today’s zeitgeist. Or maybe, she values her relationships with family, friends, colleagues and community members, therefore, chooses to encourage a positive interaction with others; versus, making sure others hear her voice and acquiesce to her demands for the new cultural norms. It’s likely her moral and religious upbringing have contributed to her explicit passion for positivity and fostering of success in others. In any case, she is not nor feels cancelled, but rather empowered when putting their needs above her own.

In the end, my wife received her first vaccination with a sense of tranquility. Her mind was eased by her personal ratification of competence, values, and morality; the things that (should) matter most, and not the number of TikTok followers. Her willingness to listen empathetically, explore diversity, and engage in endless reflection upon her own views, values, and beliefs delivered a sense of serenity in her choice to receive her vaccination. I hope others can find peace in whatever their personal decision may be as to receive or not receive a vaccination, and that they are able to accept whatever personal decisions others make as well.

 

Coby Ruth

Cohasset

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