“It was a meditation on life, love, old age, death: ideas that had often fluttered around her head like nocturnal birds but dissolved into a trickle of feathers when she tried to catch hold of them.” ― Gabriel García Márquez
On St Patrick’s Day, I arrived at work to a yummy peppermint Aero chocolate bar on my desk and a large green tinted box – a box of tissues! My colleague had heard me complain a week before that I had not been able to purchase tissues for my 97-year-old mum due to Coronavirus stockpiling. On the eve of taking mum to a country destination to ride out this virus, I feel like my head is full of a trickle of feathers …
I am so grateful for a faith that prompts me to find God in all things: conversations with colleagues about people we love, stories from émigré colleagues about real ongoing scarcity of basic goods in their homeland, the inhalation of fresh air on river walks, the challenge of shaping community while in isolation, the sharing of wickedly funny memes.
I am also moved by the overwhelming abundance of grief and loss that surrounds me: the inability of a friend to hold a newborn premmie grandson, lost work and artistic plans of my creative niece, cancelled programmes and projects that I am invested in, whole livelihoods and lives at risk … and yet here love (God?) is also born in the ache, disappointment, deeper empathy and call to community that is experienced daily. Each decision: to buy 2 or 20 toilet rolls, to share or withhold, to laugh or languish is a choice for life, for love, for hope.
I’m no Pollyanna, and yet across these Lenten days of Jesus clarifying his/God’s priorities in the self-isolation of the desert, let us meditate, in faith, on life, death and sure resurrection. With Mary Ward, may we ‘act solely out of love, not fear’. May we attend to the ideas fluttering around our head, allowing them to sparkle like a bright corona.
Author: Anne Muirhead
Director of Mission, Loreto Ministries
March 17, 2020