“When I was a child, I spake as a child, I understood as a child, I thought as a child: but when I became a man, I put away childish things. “ 1 Corinthians 13: 11, KJV
As a teenager, I once told my parents I was going to a meeting of some sort where good kids were encouraged to be better kids. They seemed pleased and handed me the car keys.
Now, more than fifty years later, I confess: I lied.
Instead, I drove the family car to a beach party at which fellow teens were doing what one typically does at beach parties. In the process, I managed to stall the family station wagon in a mud puddle adjacent to the beach.
This was not what I had planned.
So my friends and I spent most of the party getting the car out of the muck. Spinning tires, splattering mud, an inch forward, then backwards, then again, and again.
Finally, we got the car out. But my curfew was approaching, so I just drove to an open coin-op carwash, and headed for home.
But as I was pulling into the driveway, an idea settled into my 16-year-old brain that was unlike any of my usual fuzzy teenage version of thinking. It went something like this: I chose what I wanted to do and I thought everything would be fine. But it wasn’t. Apparently, making a decision that you think will be great doesn’t guarantee that it will actually be great.
In other words, you’re always free to choose your actions, but you’re never free to choose the results of those actions.
Perhaps it was the first mature thought that had ever entered my mind, but it made a deep impression on me. And now there’s rarely a week that passes when I don’t see this principle working in real life.
And lately, I’ve seen it working overtime.
I’m talking about the many who carry within themselves the fervent desire to avoid Covid vaccination. They have enjoyed the freedom to choose and control their own actions, but (like us all) now find themselves unable to control the results of those actions.
I have tried hard to understand the mindset of those who refuse to become vaccinated. I suppose that if all I listened to was a single point of view that incessantly pounded out the drum beat of “flawed vaccine,” “bogus bug,” and “evil leaders,” then I too might be hesitant. At first. I too might decide to hold off a little to see if all the vaccination hoo-haw was just a bunch of bogus BS. At first.
Perhaps that’s the path you’ve taken. If so, I’d like to gently suggest that maybe, perhaps, and just possibly, now might be a potentially good time to consider reevaluating your position.
Reevaluating a position that isn’t turning out as you thought it would is something that all adults occasionally do.
Perhaps you’ve noticed that the vaccines are turning out to be both safe and effective. And perhaps we’re all past the point of believing that the beds in our community hospitals are being filled with “crisis actors.” And perhaps you’ve read that 98% of the Covid patients now torching our medical infrastructure are unvaccinated. Perhaps all of this is causing you to reflect.
And perhaps you’ve noticed that this Delta variant is a dangerous little bugger, so to speak, with its higher infection rates and significantly stronger kick. I suppose that with so many of us unvaccinated, you can think of what’s happening in Idaho as the virus version of this summer’s California wildfires.
We all make decisions in life, everyone of us, every day. We choose to act, but we cannot choose what will happen next. We can only guess, and sometimes those guesses turn out to be wrong. It happens to us all. There’s no shame in applying the necessary Band-Aids, and moving forward more intelligently. It’s what adults do.
It’s what happens when you stop talking, thinking, and reasoning like a child by thinking you can control the results of your actions. It’s what happens when you become a man (or woman), and put away childish things.
Stay safe out there.
Chris Huston is an author and award-winning columnist living in the Magic Valley. Connect with Chris on Facebook and Instagram at Chris Huston-Finding My Way and at chrishustonauthor.com.