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Walking Spring Prayer

A poem for this pandemic season.

Loving God, in whom
is heaven,
we’re thankful
for the people we meet
when we venture forth
from our homes,
in these pandemic days:

the mother
with her two young kids,
making their own fun
in the grass beside the playground,
where the climbing structures
are wrapped in yellow caution tape,
and off limits;

the widower
with his next door neighbour friend,
and two cups of take-out coffee
from McDonalds,
sitting two picnic tables,
and two metres,
across from each other
in the park,
kibitzing;

the neighbour-down-the-alley
with his two-year-old daughter
jumping in a puddle
yesterday’s rain
left behind;

the cheerful, fellow retiree,
who’s biggest problem
is lack of physical contact
with the grandchildren.

All we like sheep
have been abiding by the rules,
as our shepherds –
our civic, provincial and federal leaders –
have led us step by step,
week by week,
through this valley
of the shadow of death,

a journey challenge,
with all its unknowns,
that they are rising to,
while relying on the prayers of us all,
even if they don’t know it,
though it seems
that maybe they do,

for which we are also thankful.

We pray
for all the people
we do not meet
when we venture forth
on our daily, or twice-daily
ambulations
to stay healthy and sane:

the elderly folks
in all the long-term care homes
where so many outbreaks
and deaths
have been occurring;

the families and children
in the north and east end,
especially,
but really everywhere in the city,
who are overwhelmed
with worry and fear,
who can’t handle the online learning,
who are challenged
at the best of times,

who live in tents.

Christ, in your mercy
              hear our prayer.

We may meet some of the front-line workers,
as they come and go,
and wave to them,
or sing, and bang pots and pans
of gratitude,
as they enter their garages
to disrobe, then shower,
before coming anywhere near
their own children.

There are so many ways in which
we do not know
how these lock down,
social distance, isolation blues
are playing out,
door to door,
in people’s lives,
who are our neighbours,
our sisters and brothers
over all the earth,

for whom we pray,
Christ, in your mercy,
           hear our prayer.

And then there’s the magnolia.
Forsythia.
And other signs of life
and Spring.
Daffodil. Tulip.
Green surge of the trees.
The sudden lawn
           that needs mowing.

You are with us.

Your soil, your black loam
and compost,
your bud and shoot,
they comfort us.
You anoint our heads with April showers
           and drifting blossom.

You set the table.
We break the bread
of the life we have been given,
and pour the cup
of suffering,
and of gladness
           beyond words or circumstance, 

in holy hopes
that salvation
            is just round the next bend…

Author

  • John Terpstra

    John is a Hamilton (Ont.) poet, writer and carpenter.

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