I didn’t want to write a post like this. I never believed that I would. Not in a million years.
I wanted to be telling you about how good my study life had started to feel, how my mind had been expanding and my brain cells jumping as I learnt new things about the worlds of communication, religion, and philosophy.
I wanted to tell you how I had started to connect with others, and was ever so gently beginning new friendships on campus. How, in the first week I felt like a giant sore red thumb amongst people at least half my age, but how I had now felt accepted and normal.
But, instead my heart has been swept up in this coronavirus pandemic and am observing my fellow human beings scrambling for the everyday things we take for granted – toilet paper, tissues, bread, and milk. It is not for lack of having these things – they are coming – but some of my fellow human beings have taken more than they need, leaving the elderly and other vulnerable people to go without as they stare at empty shelves.
I have seen people disappear from the streets to hide within their homes from this unwanted and invisible enemy, and now, the thing closest to my heart – celebrating Mass and receiving the Holy Eucharist, sacred singing, and being together with my community and friends at church – is also gone for who knows how long. No Mass. No sung prayer. But, I must remember, Christ is with us.
I have observed. I have truly mused these last few weeks, and it saddens me how humanity is trying to cope with such drastic changes. Lock downs. Movements being monitored. Now we cannot be within 1.5 metres of each other. But Christ is close to our hearts right now. Closer than we think. And boy, will we have time to think. No distractions. No mass gatherings. Wash your hands for twenty seconds.
At one point I wanted to give up this blog altogether. “I would be too busy studying”, I thought. I will be inundated with homework, volunteering, choir, and rebuilding my life after my career was demolished. Now, I’ve had to postpone the studies for personal and family reasons, the volunteering is still in the pipeline but that too may have to be delayed, and I may have to ramp up my ‘social distancing’ (our new buzz phrase). I am grateful that I have this blog to continue writing.
I have started to notice who my friends are as some people stay in touch, and others inexplicably disappear without answering my emails or texts enquiring about their wellbeing, as a friend should.
At the same time I have been grateful for living where I do, as many are worse off than I am. And Italy – my heart reaches out to you. It is Lent indeed. Unite your suffering to the Lord’s.
I feel an affinity with those who are isolated as the world shuts down around me. I see acts of kindness and people singing from balconies, still displaying great solidarity in song and music. Keep going. There is always music. Thank God. I see the stock market bounce up and down as there is talk of not only a recession, but possibly another Great Depression.
None of us knows when this will all end. We have been told by medical experts and governments that it will take at least six months. We face a long winter here in the southern hemisphere.
But I will still sing at home.
I will make myself watch Mass online.
I will wait to receive the real Eucharist and will never take it for granted.
I will especially pray to St Joseph, the Holy Spouse of Our Blessed Mother and the “Terror of Demons”. (Hint: so should you.)
So, it turns out that I will be writing more for this blog after all, and will not stop the music:
“And if there is no sun
When we’re far from home
Nothing will sink our smiles
Let the rain fall
Soak us to the bone
Nothing will sink our smiles”
– “Made for Rain” by the Good Lovelies
How have you been affected by all of this? How are you feeling right now?
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