Coughing in the craw of corona
I cried to you, O Lord,
and you, in defiance of all demands
of social distancing
took me snug into your arms!
Pitched into dark seething waters
of viral TMI,
locked out of churches, cafes and school rooms
I quaked with questions:
“Where will we ever meet again?”
Fever flaming in around me;
surgical masks effacing smiles;
all my pleasant pastimes gone extinct,
someone just panic-bought my soul
convinced its recent bitterness
I’m about to hit rock bottom uncertainty
where all bets on faith are off.
But my bootstraps you pull up, O God,
and my shut-in, bone-bored body follows.
In my distress I kept pressing SEND
on the prayers texted in my deep down cells.
And in the quiet temple of my heart
that no public health order can ever close
you answered without devices,
sighing “all will be well”
in your typically inscrutable tone
freed from the noise of normal,
for normal, by mysterious decree,
no longer holds,
nor holds back, as it once did,
my sacrificial shouts of gratitude.
–Greg Kennedy SJ is a Jesuit priest working as a spiritual director at the Ignatius Jesuit Centre in Guelph, Ontario. His new book, Reupholstered Psalms: Ancient Songs Sung New, is now available for purchase.