Grace and “Vaccine Purgatory”

Today, I was listening to Anne Strainchamps interview science writer Sarah Zhang on To the Best of Our Knowledge, and Zhang described our current moment in the pandemic as “vaccine purgatory.”

That seems an apt phrase. We’re not in hell, but we are suffering, perhaps all the more so because we know now that escape is possible, sometime, probably, maybe, if we don’t catch the coronavirus and die of COVID-19 in the meantime, or if the virus doesn’t mutate to outwit the vaccine, or if some new highly contagious microbe doesn’t pop up because we’ve trespassed in the habitat of lemurs or some other endangered species. Wikipedia tells me that Catholics are really the thought leaders on purgatory, a place for cleaning up your act if you’ve died “in God’s grace and friendship” but aren’t fully purified.

So many (irreverent) thoughts come to mind. Does that mean that “God’s grace and friendship” aren’t as all-encompassing as they’re made out to be?

But I’m finding a mental-health thread on the internet about self-gracing: giving ourselves permission to be imperfect and scared. I’m happy to give myself grace, but I’d feel better if it came with some God-backed guarantee.

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