I am so very grateful to Maria Mankin for this prayer that takes us with our hearts to Wuhan Province, to nearly 8000 people with the coronavirus and those grieving the 2000 who have died.
Every night when we say our prayers
I ask my sons to think of people
who might need God’s comfort
and grace, and every night,
they tell me the same thing –
those who are sick, who are sad,
mad, lonely, looking for someone –
ideas they came up with once
that now ring true with repetition.
In bed now, for weeks,
I’ve said the same prayer
for those in Wuhan,
those who are sick, who are weeping,
who are angry, alone, searching –
for those whose home has become
a warren of empty streets, masked faces,
endless funeral preparations.
My husband shows me pictures
of the cruise ships, the quarantined
airlines passengers, the long list
of precautions to try to contain
the uncontainable. I contain them
for a moment before those unfamiliar
faces overflow into a multitude,
barely a slice of unimaginable grief.
I listen to my son cough, an ordinary cough,
but one that now worries me more now,
especially at night, when I realize how easily
we become afraid of those who are suffering most.
I remind myself to pray into my fear
rather than give into it, to acknowledge
that we all want to protect and save
the ones we love, but for God,
there are no borders, no sick or well,
no one who is not a blessed child,