Michelle Martin

New life

April 21, 2021

Have you gotten your vaccination yet?

That’s become the new small talk, the new topic of conversation among friends and family.

If the answer is no, then the advice comes: Where have you looked? Did you try calling on the phone instead of going online? I hear new appointments are released at this time each day.

If the answer is yes, the questions continue: Where did you go? Which vaccine did you get? Were there any side effects? Do you have to go back for a second shot? What is the first thing you’ll do two weeks after your last shot?

Me? I’m planning to get my hair cut.

I know that salons and barber shops have been open, I know the risks are probably small as long as customers are spaced out and everyone keeps their masks on. But even that risk seemed unnecessary when there were other risks we had to take, like, say, going to the grocery store.

Within the next month, all of the over-18 members of my immediate family will be fully vaccinated, even with my two young adult children having to go a ways — in different directions. My husband and I, Chicago residents with pre-existing conditions, were both vaccinated at the United Center. Frank drove himself to the far west suburbs where he snagged an appointment at a Walmart; Caroline went to the FEMA site in Gary, Indiana.

So far, only my husband is two weeks out from his second shot, something he took advantage of yesterday by making a not-entirely-essential trip to a hardware store and then visiting his also fully vaccinated sister inside her house for the first time in over a year.

But we’re not throwing caution to the wind. Teresa is 11, not yet eligible to be vaccinated, and there’s no guarantee that the vaccine will make any individual fully immune. My husband and his sister kept their masks on, and no one is planning to eat inside a restaurant anytime soon. Outside, as the weather gets warmer? Maybe. Until then, we have takeout.

This still feels like a time of waiting, an interstitial period in which we are no longer where we were, but not yet fully in our new reality.

It’s kind of like the period after Jesus rose, before he ascended into heaven and the Holy Spirit came to the disciples at Pentecost. Something marvelous had happened, but what it would mean going forward, the details of how it would change daily life? That was unclear.

Understanding what it all meant took time and discernment and, yes, revelation.

Let’s enjoy this season of Easter, this time of celebrating our new reality. Let’s embrace the life we have now by being vaccinated when it becomes possible for us, a decision to protect not just our own lives and the lives around us, but also the life of our communities.



  • covid-19
  • vaccine