WE WILL soon be entering the 12th month of the 2020/21 global Covid-19 pandemic. The weeks are long and emotions are tested. It feels like the goalposts are forever moving and hopes are constantly raised and dashed. Things feel out of our control and it’s hard to keep morale high when what started off as a novel experience has been drawn out to become the mundane reality.
Here at the Fermanagh Herald we have teamed up with some of the county’s resident experts to tell us “just one thing” that we can all do every week from now until the end of the pandemic to get us through.
The objective being, that if we take one thing each week – a word of wisdom or a breathing exercise, an image to meditate upon or a simple physical act that we can undertake, then week by week, one positive move followed by one positive move, we will get through this and may even emerge better, stronger and more fulfilled in the end.
The “Just One Thing” feature is set out so that you can cut out and keep whichever advice works best for you. Stick it on your fridge and remind yourself to take one week at a time and remember: “Together we will get through this”.
For week one of the Fermanagh Herald’s “Just One Thing” campaign we have solicited the help of a man who needs no introduction: Fr Brian D’arcy. Fr Brian proffered a unique piece for the Herald and is printed here for you to cut out and keep. His 2019 book “It has to be said”, is the second part of his memoirs and is available to buy from frbriandarcy.com.
“Ever since this Pandemic arrived uninvited to wipe away every certainty I ever had, I sometimes feel like a footballer who retired a week before the cup final. I’m a helpless spectator cocooned behind the perimeter fence, wondering what I can do or say to help.
Before this, I knew what my role as a priest was; now most days I don’t have a role.
It is impossible to put words on what this uncertainty has done to our confidence. The hope we had was that vaccination would be the solution we longed for. Now that scientists have found a vaccine I for one, am immensely grateful. Yet I realise that it will be years before we know how effective it will be as the virus continues to mutate. I still cannot envisage full churches, theatres or stadiums. That makes me uneasy.
None of us needs to feel a failure because we’re helpless in the face of this unprecedented pandemic. This is a time to humbly work with and not against the experts. It is a time to pray for those who risk their lives every day to bring comfort to the dying.
I was reading a helpful book by an Indian Jesuit priest, Paul Coutinho. The book’s title itself is enlightening: ‘How Big Is our God?’
He believes we need to be free to enjoy each unique experience of God in our life.
“We all have the freedom to find meaning in life, and this meaning is the Big meaning. It’s the meaning I have to find. It’s not what religion tells me. It’s not what my parents tell me. It’s not what the teachers or sages or presidents of the CEOs tell me. It’s not what anybody tells me. As a human being, as a creation of God, I am invited to find my own meaning.”
I’ll finish with this, a prayer which is helping me find meaning during this senseless pandemic. It was written by one of my heroes, the Trappist monk Thomas Merton.”
“My Lord God, I have no idea where I am going. I do not see the road ahead of me. I cannot know for certain where it will end. Nor do I really know myself, and the fact that I think I am following your will, does not mean that I am actually doing so. But I believe that the desire to please you does in fact please you. And I hope I have that desire in all that I am doing. I hope that I will never do anything apart from that desire. And I know that if I do this you will lead me by the right road, though I may know nothing about it. Therefore will I trust you always, though I may seem to be lost and in the shadow of death; I will not fear, for you are ever with me, and you will never leave me to face my perils alone.”