Happy New Moon, my dear friends,

I thought I’d share with you today a few of the poems that I have come across in the past month or so describing or musing upon this time, The Great Pause. Please take care of yourselves in the most exquisite way possible. Do not waste your energy and emotions in “what if’s?” and endless news watching. In a time when it is very difficult to really know what’s really going on, remember that your day to day experience is a result of what you place your attention on. Place your attention on whatever beauty is here, now, in a wonderful spring just beginning to bloom. Place your attention on the so many who are performing intentional acts of kindness and responsibility (our health care and essential workers), and all the random acts of kindness. Yes, take appropriate caution, make appropriate plans, but not in every moment of every day! No one ever died from turning away from Facebook and all the news outlets. 🙂

Much love and blessing to you my dear ones,

Cat

Pandemic
What if you thought of it
as the Jews consider the Sabbath—
the most sacred of times?
Cease from travel.
Cease from buying and selling.
Give up, just for now,
on trying to make the world
different than it is.
Sing. Pray. Touch only those
to whom you commit your life.
Center down.
 
And when your body has become still,
reach out with your heart.
Know that we are connected
in ways that are terrifying and beautiful.
(You could hardly deny it now.)
Know that our lives
are in one another’s hands.
(Surely, that has come clear.)
Do not reach out your hands.
Reach out your heart.
Reach out your words.
Reach out all the tendrils
of compassion that move, invisibly,
where we cannot touch.
 
Promise this world your love–
for better or for worse,
in sickness and in health,
so long as we all shall live.
 
–Lynn Ungar 3/11/20



Lockdown
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 neighbourhood
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 neighbours 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.
 
- Fr. Richard Hendrick, OFM
March 13th 2020



The world became stilted with fear and uncertainty
What was happening; what was true?
Form a distant land, a warning, but we scarcely paid attention
and then before our minds had comprehended,
the enemy had made its way into our country,
our safe and trusted haven.
This stealthy virus that no one could predict
or explain, lingered on those most unlucky
and most innocent.
Then made its way to all the others who had
hugged and touched these growing few,
until there were not few, but many, in every corner
of the world.
Somehow the world seemed to shrink, we were
not sure if we should hide or run,
we became paranoid and suspicious,
and the country drew apart.
Fear was rampant and we became secluded
and reclusive;  it was the only way
they told us.
Surely some wise and blessed soul
or souls would find an answer and we
would all go back to our places
in a very different world.
     ----- Carol Scott


Praise Song for the Pandemic
 
Praise be the nurses and doctors, 
every medical staff bent over flesh to offer care, 
for lives saved and lives lost, 
for showing up either way,
 
Praise for the farmers, tilling soil, 
planting seeds so food can grow, 
an act of hope if ever there was,
 
Praise be the janitors and garbage collectors, 
the grocery store clerks, and the truck drivers 
barreling through long quiet nights,
 
Give thanks for bus drivers, delivery persons, 
postal workers, and all those keeping an eye on water, 
gas, and electricity,
 
Blessings on our leaders, making hard choices 
for the common good, offering words of assurance,
 
Celebrate the scientists, working away 
to understand the thing that plagues us, 
to find an antidote, all the medicine makers, 
praise be the journalists keeping us informed,
 
Praise be the teachers, finding new ways 
to educate children from afar, and 
blessings on parents holding it together for them,
 
Blessed are the elderly and those with weakened 
immune systems, all those who worry for their 
health, praise for those who stay at home to protect them,
 
Blessed are the domestic violence victims, 
on lock down with abusers, the homeless and refugees,
Praise for the poets and artists, the singers and storytellers, 
all those who nourish with words and sound and color,
 
Blessed are the ministers and therapists of every kind, 
bringing words of comfort,
 
Blessed are the ones whose jobs are lost, 
who have no savings, who feel 
fear of the unknown gnawing,
 
Blessed are those in grief, especially who mourn alone, 
blessed are those who have passed into the Great Night,
 
Praise for police and firefighters, paramedics, 
and all who work to keep us safe, praise for all the 
workers and caregivers of every kind,
 
Praise for the sound of notifications, messages from friends 
reaching across the distance, 
give thanks for laughter and kindness,
 
Praise be our four-footed companions, 
with no forethought or anxiety, 
responding only in love,
 
Praise for the seas and rivers, 
forests and stones who teach us to endure,
 
Give thanks for your ancestors, 
for the wars and plagues they endured and survived, 
their resilience is in your bones, your blood,
 
Blessed is the water that flows over our hands 
and the soap that helps keep them clean, 
each time a baptism,
 
Praise every moment of stillness and silence, 
so new voices can be heard, praise the chance at slowness,
 
Praise be the birds who continue to sing the sky 
awake each day, praise for the primrose poking 
yellow petals from dark earth, 
blessed is the air clearing overhead so one 
day we can breathe deeply again.
 
And when this has passed may we say that 
love spread more quickly than any virus ever could, 
may we say this was not just an ending 
but also a place to begin.
 
—-Christine Valters Paintner
*In a Dark Time*

Do not rush to make meaning.
When you smile and say what purpose
this all serves, you deny grief
a room inside you,
you turn from thousands who cross
into the Great Night alone,
from mourners aching to press
one last time against the warm
flesh of their beloved,
from the wailing that echoes
in the empty room.
When you proclaim who caused this,
I say pause, rest in the dark silence
first before you contort your words
to fill the hollowed out cave,
remember the soil will one day
receive you back too.
Sit where sense has vanished,
control has slipped away,
with futures unravelled,
where every drink tastes bitter
despite our thirst.
When you wish to give a name
to that which haunts us,
you refuse to sit
with the woman who walks
the hospital hallway, hears
the beeping stop again and again,
with the man perched on a bridge
over the rushing river.
Do not let your handful of light
sting the eyes of those
who have bathed in darkness.
---Christine Valters Paintner