All shall be well,
and all shall be well,
and all manner of thing shall be well.
Lady Julian of Norwich
I carry these words with me on a post-it, courtesy of a sermon by former St. John’s clergy Lisa Sanders Ahuja. These are the words of Julian of Norwich who lived during the Great Bubonic Plague of the 14th century.
They provide me with much comfort as a health care worker, especially during a time like this—which I never, ever thought would occur during my lifetime. As I hear from fellow anesthesiologists in New York the same phrase is used over and over again “war zone.”
And so I praise God that I live in a city which is not too densely populated; that our regional leaders follow the science; that I work in a hospital with a physician CEO who realizes that having a “lean” supply chain doesn’t include personal protective equipment.
Like others, I wonder why this is happening during this season of repentance. I am struck by the occurrence that COVID-19 became a pandemic during Lent, and the peak is predicted to occur shortly after Easter. I do not believe this is a coincidence.
On this Maundy Thursday, in which Jesus commands us to love one another, I cherish the blessing of our community, which is putting others before themselves in service:
Hospitals’ Environmental Services Departments that are working overtime, wiping down elevator buttons, door handles, and other common surfaces to prevent illness;
Respiratory Therapists who manage the ventilators of critically ill patients;
Grocery store workers, first responders, police women and men, postal workers, and others providing for our basic needs;
Friends and neighbors who have offered to do my grocery shopping and watch my son, so I may go to work;
Care workers at my mother’s assisted living facility who are providing comfort and socialization at a time when families are not permitted to visit; and
The hospital cafeteria workers—for the wonderful scent of fresh bacon that permeates the hallway and puts a smile on my face as I enter my department.
While we cannot gather tonight for the solemn service that includes the stripping of the Altar, foot washing, and other preparations that end our Lenten fast, I realize the triviality of what we are enduring compared to Jesus as he celebrated The Holy Eucharist on the Eve of his Death.
Appointed readings for today: