April 17th

In the first days of COVID-19, before the disease had even been given that rather bland and bureaucratic sounding name (for something that’s anything but bland) I was minded to want to try and get on with life as normal, put it down to media hype, wonder why the news wasn’t focusing on all the other important things going on in the world. I still wonder what’s happened to the rest of the news.

Several decades ago, I was given a book of Christian Poetry by a dear friend. A phrase from a poem (by Marianne Mackinnon) in that book came back to me:

Life is for living
not for chasing the past
or courting the future,
passing, sightless,
through today’s avenues…

Perhaps our very best head-in-the-sand ostrich impressions may not serve us well at this time? Wishing “everything was back to normal” is probably natural, but not necessarily helpful? Likewise, wishing for the future, much as we may do so, may not help us in the present?

The poem continues:

For living…
It is learning how to walk free
in human chains, and how not to drown
in the high seas of suffering.
It is loving and caring and dancing at the fair…

Does this go some way to hint at how we might try to live in the midst of all we find around us for now? The constraints and the suffering are all too much in evidence, but so too are the signs of love, caring and efforts to “keep dancing”.

Ruth Allen