“Vaccination Follow-Up”


Part 1. Identify the Enemy


Two radiology technicians. Five lumps. One sonogram screen. Me awkwardly on my side so they can get a good angle for the sonogram sensor.


“Don’t look,” I tell myself. I never look when I get a shot.


“But this is different. There is no sharp pain. It’s just a camera.” I argue with myself.


So, I look.


Four lumps look like Jelly Beans.


One has tentacles.


“The one with tentacles looks kind of concerning.” I say out loud to the technicians.


One sweet technician responds with “Oh, you mean that star shaped one?”

Ha! Overly sweet medical professionals are never a good sign. Rather than respond with skepticism, I simply say, “yes.”


Out of five lumps, that “star shaped” one carried cancer. This alien monster trying to find a stronghold in my body was removed permanently about a month later. All has been well ever since.


I will never forget that image. Nor will I forget what it is like to be focused on fighting an enemy within your own body. It takes focus, energy and a community of support. And humor!


I think of this image when I see images of the Covid-19 virus and its variants. I am reminded that this virus itself is the enemy.


Our common enemy has no human face. It is not any politician. Nor a local health official. And definitely not my neighbor.


The enemy is small enough to be carried on human breath. The enemy sails through the air on a sneeze or cough searching for a human host. It spreads its tentacles out in a human’s lungs searching for a stronghold. It quite literally sucks the life out of its human host. This is our enemy.


The next image in my mind comes from a Marvel movie. In the 2012 “The Avengers” movie, there is a scene where the team stands arguing with each other with the Tesseract behind them. They argue about how best to fight the enemy, Loki in this movie.


Much the same way we are arguing right now amongst ourselves — while the true enemy, that “star shaped” virus floats through the air searching to set up its stronghold in any human host it can find.


The good news is at the end of the movie, the entire Avengers team stands behind the defeated Loki who sits up from where he had been pounded into the floor by The Hulk and says, “I’ll have that drink now.”


I long for the day when that is all of us. Standing shoulder to shoulder with each other. The COVID virus a relic for the history books.


We are not there yet. Mainly because we have not yet reached any kind of agreement on how to fight this enemy.


And how do we fight it?


It takes focus. We have one enemy. Only one. A tiny, microscopic virus. Any argument that divides us is a distraction from this true enemy. And any distraction gives the enemy time to establish new strongholds.


Focus. Identify the enemy and stay focused on it.


Energy. All of our energy needs to go just to that battle rather than the distracting battles over freedom or politics. If it does not defeat the enemy, it is a waste of energy.


Support. It has been an exhausting, draining, sad 18 months. We need each other. Every human on this planet needs each other. We need our entire Avengers Team to fight together. Not against each other.


Humor. In another Marvel Movie, “Captain Marvel” (2019), her strongest moment is when she accepts that she is human and everything that goes into being human. When we face the truth of who we are, oh God, how can we help but laugh? Look at us. We are burning up our planet. An entire planet! What other creature God created would do that? And we slap the hand that tries to help us. We are pathetic.


And we are beautiful. We are worth saving. God loves us.


Psalm 8:4-5

“What are human beings that you are mindful of them, mortals that you care for them? Yet you have made them a little lower than God, and crowned them with glory and honor.”


We can do this. We can defeat the enemy. We just need to do it together.


Fight on!