Let us forsake all our wasted days

It would be an ordinary basking day for the spiny and the green

Lizards who sun on the rocks and the fences

We would beat the palms of our hands on the opacity of windows

Before we opened them to warn off

night so late that morning is just a nap’s distance

Away

The fans would beat their wings

Now while we can

Let us forsake

all our wasted days.

Another Pandemic

The summer of 2018 was hard on us. We lost beloved kitten after beloved kitten. People in the community who fostered kittens talked about PTSD and loss.

The agony of hope and grief was indelible, but so too was the change in my experience with veterinarians.

Some refused to care for the kittens; others failed to tell us what was really killing them. I had always thought that veterinarians were doctors for animals, with the same abiding principles of integrity and common good.

That is what I thought before.

Now I know that for many it is just an income stream, a path to selling things in order to make a living.

I think about that summer. It was a bad summer for panleuk. There was a terrible tragedy unfolding for the most vulnerable among us. Back then, the people were ok, but the wee kittens had no chance.

Now I think about it because the pandemic we face this summer is counted in human lives.

Let us all hope and pray

That the people we trust with our lives

Are in this for the right reasons

And for the distance.

The borrowed borrowed story about crises

A pastor told a story about a priest or monk whose brother was a fighter pilot. The pilot took his brother to the flight simulator. In the course of learning and crashing in a computerized model of flight, the non-pilot commented on the steep cost of learning to fly, the risks, and what happens when there is a crisis.

The pilot said, people train to a level and in a crisis they revert to that level–to what they know or have already mastered.

Rarely more.

We don’t rise to a higher level in a crisis. We revert to what we have trained for.

That is what the pilot said, I tell myself

When what we have trained for

Happens

“Brace yourself like a man”

Job 38:1-7 KJV

[1] Then the Lord answered Job out of the whirlwind, and said, [2] Who is this that darkeneth counsel by words without knowledge? [3] Gird up now thy loins like a man; for I will demand of thee, and answer thou me. [4] Where wast thou when I laid the foundations of the earth? declare, if thou hast understanding. [5] Who hath laid the measures thereof, if thou knowest? or who hath stretched the line upon it? [6] Whereupon are the foundations thereof fastened? or who laid the corner stone thereof; [7] When the morning stars sang together, and all the sons of God shouted for joy?

Indelible

There are things that happen in the indelible. First, time becomes a character in the story, exerting control over both the narrative and the heart rate. It moves through each room, touching old pictures and hidden spaces, spinning a cocoon so thick it makes normal movement impossible and must be pulled apart like spun sugar

Next, change

Old you out to sea, pared down, bereft

So you

Write down promises

On every doorpost, every lintel, every exposed beam and limb

Let the words become living things

A forest in the house

Eschaton and testing for Covid-19

About a month ago I spent a day dragging my family through a crash course in coronavirus. It was appalling.

  • The range of symptoms is highly variable.
  • Carriers can be asymptomatic.
  • With over 200 mutating strains, the range of severity in this disease can be highly variable.
  • A person can be exposed to the mild strains, and still get hit by a secondary, more severe infection.

We put too much emphasis on testing. Testing would be great only if there were limitless tests and the tests were far more reliable than they are. If that were the case then we should all follow a protocol of weekly prophylactic testing.

Not feasible right now.

A few years ago my family started to play a modified version of a very complicated fictional tennis game from David Foster Wallace’s Infinite Jest. His version was very apocalyptic (fitting); ours was as well but with a fraction of the complexity.

In our version two teams of as many people as you have (evenly divided, of course) face each other on either side of the net. We divided as many balls as we could muster and started hitting them across the net relentlessly. The opposing team did the same. At a predetermined point (like music chairs), we would pause the game. The team with fewer balls on their side won that round and then we would continue.

Great cardio workout. Quickly exhausting.

That is coronavirus. We will all face an onslaught of a relentlessly moving, mutating virus which can spread quickly, if not effortlessly, through contact and fomite transmission.

Eschaton is a fun game.

This is not. But if I know one thing about how to “win” at eschaton, it is organize your team and don’t stop lobbing the balls back across the net.

We don’t play eschaton right now. Our tennis court is closed. That is a good thing. The best way to “win” at this is to assume we are all spreaders and keep us all

Six feet apart.

Pray. Pray because our lives depend on it. Imagine what a simple game of eschaton would look like if

God were clearly on

The winning side.

Matthew 17:20-21 KJV

[20] And Jesus said unto them, Because of your unbelief: for verily I say unto you, If ye have faith as a grain of mustard seed, ye shall say unto this mountain, Remove hence to yonder place; and it shall remove; and nothing shall be impossible unto you. [21] Howbeit this kind goeth not out but by prayer and fasting.

18,000/3 weeks from today

While my son brushes his teeth I take the number of people who have died by now from Covid-19 in the United States and divide it by our total population

Then I find what Day Italy had the same ratoo

Then I take the number of people who died in Italy today

And divide it by the total population

Then multiple that decimal by our total population

By this rough equation

Three weeks from now our fatalities will bave

Risen to 18,000

And all the pleasant pictures

I have been having the mildest of stress dreams–quirky, bureaucratic hotel check ins, attempts to gather the hard-to-shepherd, things washed away. I know why the dreams have come, and I doubt they will leave me soon, even if the heat and intensity of a gathering sun should cause them to lose their inevitable grip and dissipate

I turn to morning songs and croak out broken praises

Think I should listen to the Gospel, but chose Isaiah instead

Because these are old

And New Testament times

And we are all in wont

of fierce faces

Isaiah 2:16 KJV

[16] And upon all the ships of Tarshish, and upon all pleasant pictures.

Coronavirus

All over the world

Right now

People just like

You and me

Have begun to

Live in fear

Of our own

Invisible, creeping

Spinning, spiny, tiny, inevitable invisible crowns

Empty shelves

Where once cellophaned signifiers of

All that can be wiped away–

Canned food, pasta, string cheese, milk

Fomite transmission

You and me

Gone

Don’t worry, Darling

He took all our thorny little crowns

Smoothed each out

Like a girl braiding her sister’s hair

Singing some sort of song about

A proper crown for the One True King

Come to save us all.