Thursday, July 23, 2020


This is the nineteenth in a series of periodic reflections on the "ordinary things" that many people do on a regular basis without much thought. During this pandemic, I am developing a need to "rage, rage" against hast and laziness and replace it with care and attention. My hope is to become personally more intentional about doing ordinary things with care and focused attention, while inspiring others to maybe do the same.

By accident, I erased the original post when
I tried to edit it. I have tried to reconstruct it
as best as I could.


Jesus got into a boat and his disciples followed him. Suddenly a violent storm came up on the sea, so that the boat was being swamped by waves; but he was asleep.They came and woke him, saying, “Lord, save us! We are perishing!”He said to them, “Why are you terrified, O you of little faith?”Then he got up, rebuked the winds and the sea, and there was great calm.The men were amazed and said, “What sort of man is this, whom even the winds and the sea obey?”
Matthew 8

For Whom the Bell Tolls
John Donne 

No man is an island,
Entire of itself.
Each is a piece of the continent,
A part of the main.
If a clod be washed away by the sea,
Europe is the less.
As well as if a promontory were.
As well as if a manor of thine own
Or of thine friend's were.
Each man's death diminishes me,
For I am involved in mankind.
Therefore, send not to know
For whom the bell tolls,
It tolls for thee.

I have got to start restricting myself to the amount of TV news I watch! All day, every day, it's one "breaking news" story after the next, giving us the number of "new COVID cases," the latest "number of deaths" and how many "overflow morgues" have been set up! 

I am not one to panic, normally, but with that kind of information coming into my psyche every day, I am beginning to "lose it." I use to imagine that I would die in my own bed, on clean sheets, propped up on pillows, with adoring relatives and friends listening to my farewell speech while writing it all down for posterity. When I let my mind run wild, I have begun to imagine that I could be one of those patients, with tubes down my throat, parked in a crowed hospital hallway, with doctors and nurses too busy to even notice. As a result, I have my "end of life" papers laying out for easy access in an emergency. 

I am still hoping that I can escape this COVID-19 virus, but if I can't I can only hope I don't end up in one of those busy hospital hallways, hooked to tubes, with no one with time enough to help me. Of course, I have always hoped I'd win the lottery, but that hasn't happened! On the other hand, I guess, since I have not been infected yet, I have already won the lottery for that matter! If I do end up like that, I am beginning to think I may ask them to give me some good drugs and send me home to die in peace! 

Jesus was right, "fear is useless, what is needed is trust." I need to quit watching so much "breaking news" and put my focus on other people - especially the ones who are actually suffering in this pandemic, not just those of us who are afraid of suffering. 

“The Peace of Wild Things”

Wendell Berry

When despair for the world grows in me
and I wake in the night at the least sound
in fear of what my life and my children’s lives may be,
I go and lie down where the wood drake
rests in his beauty on the water, and the great heron feeds. 
I come into the peace of wild things 
who do not tax their lives with forethought 
of grief. I come into the presence of still water. 
And I feel above me the day-blind stars 
waiting with their light. For a time 
I rest in the grace of the world, and am free. 

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