I live in Melbourne and once more we are in lockdown. It’s not easy. We had been cautiously  and joyfully edging our way towards something approximating normal, but . . . Now schooling is moving back online,  playgrounds and gyms are closed, coffee with a friend or two will have to wait, while the comfort of religious gatherings  is a month or two away. Employment is uncertain, and hand in hand with it a lifestyle that most Australians had assumed was ours for the taking.

This pandemic is teaching me that all my life I’ve been peering around the corners of the walls that divide us into countries, race and religion. Day after day during this pandemic I’ve experienced those walls tumbling, exposing the city I live in, my country and the whole world in all its ordinariness, kindness, generosity, and yes – stupidity and cruelty too. Maybe lock-down is the way to the openness of empathy, compassion, selflessness and love that I need, that we all need.

For further reflection here is a poem by Lynn Ungar, written in March this year as the pandemic began to take hold. Read it aloud as well as silently or maybe see and hear Lynn herself on the following link.



Pandemic  (by Lynn Ungar)

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.

      Judith           judith@judithscully.com.au





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