Here we are, about nine months into the COVID pandemic, experiencing a resurgence of the spread of the virus because, according to some health experts, of the omission on the part of many people to follow the basic guidelines for being safe: masks and social distancing. This second round of it was also predicted by the experts and now we are seeing exactly how right they were. Why do adult people refuse to collaborate in eradicating the virus as soon as possible? Why do the increasing number of deaths including of young adults do not touch the hearts of those of have not lost family members, and lack empathy for those who have? Considering that the number of people who have been infected is also rising, why do some public figures continue to say that the virus is on its way out; it is diminishing, and we are moving around the corner?
My list of “whys” is very long as I think about the continued disregard of black lives and the recent killing in Waukegan. It continues to grow when I see so many people in the west losing everything they have due to the fires and the people in the east due to the hurricanes, and yet some say that climate change is a hoax. This is not the first time that these facts have haunted me and caused me to seek answers. Recently attending a ZOOM conference, the participants of which I was one, prayed with a copy of a poem titled, “Making Sense” by Carrie Newcomer. She is a Quaker by religion, an American singer, songwriter and author. She has produced 16 solo CDs and has received numerous awards for her music and related charitable activities. She has done numerous collaborations with authors, academics, philosophers and musicians.
I hope that you appreciate this poem. Carrie sees so much in nature and as a Franciscan I see what God reveals to us through nature. I still don’t have all the answers nor can I make sense out of everything, but I know that God is with us and that makes all the difference.
“Making Sense” by Carrie Newcomer 2020
Finding what makes sense
In senseless times
Sometimes quite literally
In the two inches of humus
Faithful recreating itself
Every hundred years.
It takes steadying oneself
Upon shale and clay and solid rock
Swearing allegiance to an ageless aquifer
Betting on all the still hidden springs.
You can believe in a tree,
With its broad-leafed perspective,
Dedicated to breathing in, and then out,
Reaching down, and then up,
Drinking in goodness above and below
It’s splayed and mossy feet.
You can trust a tree’s careful
And drawn out way of speaking.
One thoughtful sentence, covering the span of many seasons.
A tree doesn’t hurry, it doesn’t lie,
It knows how to stand true to itself
Unselfconscious of its beauty and scars,
And all the physical signs of where and when
It needed to bend,
Rather than break.
A tree stands solitary and yet in deepest communion,
For in the gathering of the many,
There is comfort and courage,
Perseverance and protection,
From the storms that howl down from predictable
Or unexplainable directions.
In a senseless time
Hold close to what never stopped
Like how a seed becomes a branch
And compost becomes seedlings again,
Like the scent at the very top of an infant’s head
Because there is nothing more right than that.
It is all still happening
Now we invite your thoughts. Please share in the comments section below. And while you’re here, continue on a virtual mission by reading more of our stories and reflections as we discover together how “We are Mission”.