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Coming through Covid

by
01 April 2021

Dallin Chapman gives thanks

Canterbury Cathedral

The Dean of Canterbury, the Very Revd Robert Willis, with his disappearing cat, in spring 2020

The Dean of Canterbury, the Very Revd Robert Willis, with his disappearing cat, in spring 2020

THE Church has done so much during this past year to reach out to people, to be creative and inclusive, that I can only imagine how much work and time have gone into all the online services, the innovative ways of offering continuity and care, and a sense of belonging.

One of my daily rituals during the pandemic has been to watch Morning Prayer from Canterbury Cathedral. I find the settings, that sense of being in God’s creation, the rhythm of the readings, and the reflections by Dean Robert [Willis], a real balm to the soul, helping to shift things into perspective.

I’ve had Covid twice, and am still struggling with long Covid. During the second bout, on about day 14, I felt particularly low and just wanted to bury my head in the pillow and cry. While I was contemplating such self-indulgence, a phrase that Dean Robert uses every day slipped into my mind: “And we give thanks for that.” I started to say the words over and over and, as I said them, I could feel my spirits lifting.

I have written three novels and lots of poetry, but at that time I’d felt so rotten that I hadn’t written anything for months. The phrase wouldn’t go away, though; so I sat up and reached for paper and pencil and wrote the following. It comes with thanks to Dean Robert and Canterbury Cathedral, and to all the church communities that have done so much to bring God into our lives and homes over these last difficult months.
 

And I give thanks for that
dawn whispering at the window
nudging memory, books by my bedside
waiting to be read,
far echoes of a kettle coming to the boil,
footsteps on the stairs.
I give thanks for that.
 

I give thanks for that —
kindness, a doctor who took
time, a nurse who ignored
night to combat fear,
care and circles of concern,
the distant telephone.
I give thanks for that.
 

I give thanks for that
grasses and scent of spring,
squirrel busy on the lawn,
birds enjoying our berries,
faint murmur of mowing,
wide morning sky, and snowdrops,
the trees’ ancient lullabies,
I give thanks for that.
 

I give thanks for that
for life and breath, for chance
to dream again of longer days, touch
of loved ones’ hands, of laughter
and visiting old friends.
For just being.
I give thanks for that.
 

Dallin Chapman is a novelist and poet.

https://dallinchapmannovelist.wordpress.com

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