Yes, there is fear.
Yes, there is isolation.
Yes, there is panic buying.
Yes, there is sickness.
Yes, there is even death.
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,
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.
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,
© by Richard Hendrick.
Used with the authorís permission
Brother Richard Hendrick is a priest-friar of the Irish branch of the Capuchin Franciscan Order. Serving as a youth director, retreat planner, and chaplain, he has worked in hospital and prison ministries for more than twenty years. Brother Richard teaches Christian meditation and mindfulness, loves music, and was instrumental in establishing the Dublin Gospel Choir. He holds honours degrees in Philosophy, Theology, and English Literature and has post-graduate qualifications in Pastoral and Holistic studies and Franciscan Spirituality and Formation. Former guardian and director of the Ards Friary and Retreat Centre in Donegal, Brother Richard is currently Guardian of the Capuchin Friary in Raheny in Dublin, Ireland. Learn more about him here.
Thanks for sharing this with us, Jayne.
Posted 03/24/2020 05:39 PM
Beautiful message of hope.
Posted 03/23/2020 05:39 PM
Thank you! I will share this.
Posted 03/23/2020 05:37 PM
Dear Fr. Richard,
Your poem was sent to as many people as I could think of-It's beautiful and full of life and the love that is there under everything else.
Thank you for "opening the windows of my soul."
Posted 03/23/2020 04:20 PM
Arlene Gay Levine:
Uplifting! This poem opened my heart; when these tears of relief dry, I'll read it a few more times...Thank you Father Richard & Jayne.
Posted 03/23/2020 01:29 PM
THANK YOU so much for sharing this. I try to avoid social media because all you hear is doom and gloom. This beautiful poem is such a breath of fresh air...Love.
Posted 03/23/2020 01:17 PM
Linda Lee Konichek:
Oh, how I welcomed this poem. Im not a politician, but I completely believe in the American people. I was going to write something for Facebook, but Father Hendrick has done it for me...absolutely perfect!
Posted 03/23/2020 01:07 PM
Right on, for this lockdown day!
Posted 03/23/2020 10:04 AM
Posted 03/23/2020 09:33 AM
Opportunities for love and outreach abound--this poem reminds all of us to feed the faith, not fear. Thank you Father.
Posted 03/23/2020 09:20 AM
Posted 03/23/2020 08:46 AM
Wonderful to accentuate the silver linings in this difficult time.
Posted 03/23/2020 08:20 AM
Beautiful...and ringing with truths!!
Posted 03/23/2020 08:18 AM
Thank you for sharing your gift of hope.
Posted 03/23/2020 08:02 AM
Yes, there is anxiety, but there is poetry that calms the soul. Thank you, Jayne.
Posted 03/23/2020 07:15 AM
This is just what I needed to read as I awakened way too early this morning. Thank you!
Posted 03/23/2020 05:41 AM