Grace in the Pandemic

The past weeks have been difficult and stressful for many of us, or perhaps all of us. It’s no exaggeration to say there have been sleepless nights, worries in the day, challenges in family life, and a kind of fogginess about where life is going. This is on top of the very real suffering that some of us have experienced or witnessed in relation to COVID-19.

In the midst of all of this, we can perhaps also acknowledge that there have been moments of grace and joy—when we have discovered something of God’s goodness, creativity, and grace. We have discovered this in one another and in the world around us. Not unlike in other seasons of our lives, moments of struggle and of grace are often set in tension alongside each other. (Continues below pictures…)

One of the ways in which I have experienced the grace and providential love of God in these days, has been through birds in our back yard. The pandemic season has happened to overlap, in the past few weeks, with the spring migration of all types of birds. In cool mornings on our back porch I have found a gracious reprieve from the anxiety and stress of the day. With their beautiful, feathered fluttering these birds have descended with God’s grace into my daily life and that of my family (though three teenagers are not always as excited about birds as their dad is!). Continue reading

Advent Psalm (126)

Advent Psalm (126)

Weary and sleepless,
caught off guard by
racing pulse, panic, vertigo;
rare reprieve to breathe,
palpable lostness.

Heading for home,
down old Highway 6 through tears,
Aberfoyle, Puslinch, Clappison’s Corners,
steering south on automatic pilot,
college kid’s stick-shift Jetta.

Over Skyway Bridge,
past belching steelwork ugliness,
along escarpment’s familiar lines;
angled off-ramp deceleration
toward welcoming place. Continue reading

Anxiety (a new poem)

Anxiety

An old acquaintance appears with-
out invitation, under the radar,
fastening invisible hands on heart
and throat – salvo in ongoing war.

Disorienting deja-vu says I’ve been here
before, but “here” is lost and adrift;
familiar faces somehow out of reach,
with utter otherness imbued.

Greet this friend, enemy – refuse to
fight in a contest that only can be lost;
give an inch and he’ll take a mile,
every resource necessarily exhaust.

Clichéd sweaty palms and pounding
heart capture it, but also cannot;
one moment holds agitation and distress,
a cup running over with panic,

residue of fight or flight in a world of
passing threats and impossible leisure,
quaking hands and restless eyes
bespeak a fear of life’s erasure.

A cross not taken up or chosen,
neither a path walked with intention;
only inarticulate hope this blackness
somehow shares his death, beaten;

a battle of inches and seconds remains,
strategies multiplying succeeding failing,
the adversary somehow best ignored.
Fight by laying down all weapons.