Pandemic on Shabbat

1600px-Shabbat_Candles“Pandemic” is a poem/meditation by Lynn Ungar, a poet and Unitarian minister. I’ve seen it in a number of places, and find it lovely. I’m republishing here with Lynn’s permission.

Pandemic

What if you thought of it
as the Jews consider the Sabbath—
the most sacred of times?
Cease from travel.
Cease from buying and selling.
Give up, just for now,
on trying to make the world
different than it is.
Sing. Pray. Touch only those
to whom you commit your life.
Center down.

And when your body has become still,
reach out with your heart.
Know that we are connected
in ways that are terrifying and beautiful.
(You could hardly deny it now.)
Know that our lives
are in one another’s hands.
(Surely, that has come clear.)
Do not reach out your hands.
Reach out your heart.
Reach out your words.
Reach out all the tendrils
of compassion that move, invisibly,
where we cannot touch.

Promise this world your love–
for better or for worse,
in sickness and in health,
so long as we all shall live.

–Lynn Ungar, Unitarian Minister, 3/11/20

 

[Because I liked this poem so much, I looked for more. Lynn publishes many of her poems on her website. You can also order her book of poetry, Bread and Other Miracles. I’m waiting for my copy to arrive!]

 

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