It is March and we have been in pandemic quarantine for a year. For me, our world shifted on March 15. I know others may mark a slightly earlier day of that same week, but I started counting on a “Sabbath Sunday”. That first day when we stayed home with a Covid purpose, treating Sunday as if it was a snow day, without gathering at church but still creating quiet time for reflection and meditation.
Like others, I could not have envisioned I would be writing this post 365+ days later. Our Covid journey has been varied. Days when it simply felt right to be home and other times when anxiety took hold in my temporal lobe and I wondered would it ever be safe to be together. Now, with the first vaccines in our systems and second doses coming next week, I am starting to think beyond our small Kutzky Park environ, especially today when we shoulda been celebrating John and Hannah’s wedding in person rather than online. Maybe we will all gather for an anniversary party next year but, in the meantime, Lynn Ungar’s poem, written as we went into lockdown, still offers sustenance.
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