A GUY'S VIEW - Lockdown, the door to enlightenment

“Yes there is fear.
Yes there is isolation.
Yes there is panic buying.
Yes there is sickness.
Yes there is even death.
But,
They say that in Wuhan after so many years of noise
You can hear the birds again.
They say that after just a few weeks of quiet
The sky is no longer thick with fumes
But blue and grey and clear.
They say that in the streets of Assisi
People are singing to each other
across the empty squares,
keeping their windows open
so that those who are alone
may hear the sounds of family around them.
They say that a hotel in the West of Ireland
Is offering free meals and delivery to the housebound.
Today a young woman I know
is busy spreading fliers with her number
through the neighbourhood
So that the elders may have someone to call on.
Today Churches, Synagogues, Mosques and Temples
are preparing to welcome
and shelter the homeless, the sick, the weary
All over the world people are slowing down and reflecting
All over the world people are looking at their neighbours in a new way
All over the world people are waking up to a new reality
To how big we really are.
To how little control we really have.
To what really matters.
To Love.
So we pray and we remember that
Yes there is fear.
But there does not have to be hate.
Yes there is isolation.
But there does not have to be loneliness.
Yes there is panic buying.
But there does not have to be meanness.
Yes there is sickness.
But there does not have to be disease of the soul.
Yes there is even death.
But there can always be a rebirth of love.
Wake to the choices you make as to how to live now.
Today, breathe.
Listen, behind the factory noises of your panic
The birds are singing again
The sky is clearing,
Spring is coming,
And we are always encompassed by Love.
Open the windows of your soul
And though you may not be able to touch across the empty square,
Sing.”
“Lockdown” by Brother Richard Hendrick, a Capuchin Franciscan Brother.

Sometimes only experience can produce certain works. Were it not for the coronavirus, the reflective soul of this author might never have found the depth that produced these words of hope.

This is a dark moment for the world. I dare say, in Barbados’ case, the worst may be yet to come. The world has seen the approach of Donald Trump who decided that the way to suppress the coronavirus was to suppress the truth by limiting testing. If you do not test, no one would be able to say that you have high numbers. You could claim to have few cases, but you will succeed in exposing the entire population to harm. Our testing has been limited, hence, it is impossible to know how many cases we have on the island.

But that notwithstanding, Barbadians must remember who we really are at our core. Our history has been brutal, but we have survived because we are, in essence, a people of faith. We survived lack and hardship by drawing on our faith and each other. Now, we need to draw on each other again.

It may be fair to say that we have often used religion as a crutch. Now, religious gatherings could cost us our lives. It is now that we must separate religion from God, and search within for the true source of our existence.

And while introspection might disclose some empty squares within us, we may also find a song that reaches across the emptiness. Sing.

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