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Turn Down the Noise. Turn Up the Joy!

March 23, 2020

Image from article entitled "A Kind of Triumph of Spirit" which can be found here


In this time of mounting concerns for our world, I wake up each morning and my mind immediately starts its tape, a background hum of fear. It's become harder to maintain a longheld habit of reaching for my routine-first-line-defense to the noise of the day - my journal.


Instead, an illusion that I can control the world's chaos beckons me to check the news. If I know more, I can beat this virus and protect everyone!


This week my phone with its various news apps won the battle several times, leaving my journal blank and my mind distracted.


To console my spirit, I have recommitted my "first-light" morning time to journal writing and added the extra self care of reading a poem or two. 


"Poetry . . . a means by which the noise of time can be re-experienced as the music of what happens."

Quote from Washington Post article by writer Michael Dirda. Full quote can be found in John Burnside's book, The Music of Time: Poetry in the Twentieth Century.


Below is a lovely example of a poem that lowers the noise of this time. 

Click here to read a couple more or click through the blog for more.

It's a great time to start a journal! Check out this page for tips!


Sing On!






Yes there is fear.
Yes there is isolation.
Yes there is panic buying.
Yes there is sickness.
Yes there is even death.

They say that in Wuhan after so many years of noise
You can hear the birds again.
They say that after just a few weeks of quiet
The sky is no longer thick with fumes
But blue and grey and clear.

They say that in the streets of Assisi
People are singing to each other
across the empty squares,
keeping their windows open
so that those who are alone
may hear the sounds of family around them.

They say that a hotel in the West of Ireland
Is offering free meals and delivery to the housebound.

Today a young woman I know
is busy spreading fliers with her number
through the neighbourhood
So that the elders may have someone to call on.

Today Churches, Synagogues, Mosques and Temples
are preparing to welcome
and shelter the homeless, the sick, the weary
All over the world people are slowing down and reflecting
All over the world people are looking at their neighbours in a new way
All over the world people are waking up to a new reality
To how big we really are.
To how little control we really have.
To what really matters.
To Love.

So we pray and we remember that
Yes there is fear.
But there does not have to be hate.
Yes there is isolation.
But there does not have to be loneliness.
Yes there is panic buying.
But there does not have to be meanness.
Yes there is sickness.
But there does not have to be disease of the soul
Yes there is even death.
But there can always be a rebirth of love.

Wake to the choices you make as to how to live now.
Today, breathe.
Listen, behind the factory noises of your panic
The birds are singing again
The sky is clearing,
Spring is coming,
And we are always encompassed by Love.
Open the windows of your soul
And though you may not be able
to touch across the empty square,


Fr. Richard Hendrick, OFM
March 13th 2020

[The Order of Friars Minor, also called the Franciscans, the Franciscan Order, or the Seraphic Order, has a postnominal abbreviation OFM)

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