Hope in the Age of Lockdown
Fr. Richard Hendrick, a Capuchin Franciscan in Ireland , was so moved by news of Italians in lockdown singing, Spaniards applauding health care workers, and neighbors reaching out to bring food to elderly, that he penned a poem.
He said of these instances: “Together they reminded me that no matter the restrictions or dangers that this pandemic may bring, it will never touch the human soul and that we always have the opportunity to see beauty, offer compassion and touch the Divine, no matter our circumstances.”
Yes there is fear. Yes there is isolation. Yes there is panic buying. Yes there is sickness. Yes there is even death. But, They say that in Wuhan after so many years of noise. You can hear the birds again. They say that after just a few weeks of quiet. The sky is no longer thick with fumes. But blue and grey and clear. They say that in the streets of Assisi People are singing to each other across the empty squares, keeping their windows open so that those who are alone may hear the sounds of family around them. They say that a hotel in the West of Ireland Is offering free meals and delivery to the housebound. Today a young woman I know is busy spreading fliers with her number through the neighborhood So that the elders may have someone to call on. Today Churches, Synagogues, Mosques and Temples are preparing to welcome and shelter the homeless, the sick, the weary All over the world people are slowing down and reflecting All over the world people are looking at their neighbors in a new way All over the world people are waking up to a new reality To how big we really are. To how little control we really have. To what really matters. To Love. So we pray and we remember that Yes there is fear. But there does not have to be hate. Yes there is isolation. But there does not have to be loneliness. Yes there is panic buying. But there does not have to be meanness. Yes there is sickness. But there does not have to be disease of the soul Yes there is even death. But there can always be a rebirth of love. Wake to the choices you make as to how to live now. Today, breathe. Listen, behind the factory noises of your panic The birds are singing again The sky is clearing, Spring is coming, And we are always encompassed by Love. Open the windows of your soul And though you may not be able to touch across the empty square, Sing.
March 13th 2020