We are now entering our 8th week of confinement and there are words in my vocabulary which I have never heard before, let alone used. We talk about quarantine and self-isolation and social distancing as though these things were normal. If we meet at all, it is through Zoom or Skype or FaceTime. We cannot touch people unless we live with them. A friend, a recent widower, commented that he has not touched another person since March 10th. The loneliness, for some people, is becoming overpowering. Our provincial government has decided that more money needs to be put into helping people with mental health issues, which are being exacerbated by the conditions under which we are now living. Our schools are starting to open, but under such rules and regulations that I cannot see any children thriving there. The majority of our COVID-19 deaths have taken place in CHSLDs, which are long-term care homes, which used to be called “old folks’ homes”, but that is no longer used. As a result of these deaths, many abuses have been discovered in some of the residences, and there is about to be a full-scale investigation into the way our most vulnerable people have been treated. If there is a silver lining to all of this, that is surely it. Going forward, these abuses will not happen, as the residences will be under closer scrutiny than they have ever been.

Lord, when I listen to the news
It is sometimes difficult
To find something
Which will make me happy
Some reason for me to rejoice

So on this day I ask you
To help me look for the good
Because I confess
That it is easier
To find negative news

On this day I ask you
To help me see positive things
Because I confess
That I have misplaced
My rose-coloured glasses

On this day I ask you
To help me find humour
Because I confess
That my sense of humour
Is sadly lacking right now

On this day I ask you
To help me rejoice
Because I confess
That is is easier
To complain

Most of all, Lord,
On this day I ask you
To help me look to a future
That does not include
Quarantine or self-isolation or social distancing


Katherine Burgess was one of the contributors to A Child Laughs: Prayers of Justice and Hope. She also co-wrote a book of daily prayers with Neal Mathers. She is a second-career minister in the Presbyterian Church in Canada, and serves two congregations in Québec. During this time out of time, she is walking her dog every day, and doing mindless knitting projects. She is missing spending time with people, especially Aurora-Claire.

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