Wednesday 25 March 2020

First Day Under Lockdown

"This Church is closed."
One of the blessings of the past few days is that it has been sunny. I got up late for me, washed the dishes, made the Vile Tea of Lenten Penance, and after reading all the news, went out to rake beech leaves and tidy up another raised garden bed. What useful or pretty thing grows in an east-facing, very shady, Central Belt Scottish bed? Today I will have to read up on that.

Then B.A. and I went out for our state-approved one walk of the day. It was a long one, taking us to the old kirkyard where some key members of  The Historical House's Family lie awaiting Final Judgement. We prayed for their Protestant souls before continuing on to our geographical-parish church. There we found the door locked against us, just as an elderly man popped out of the rectory to ask if he could help us.

B.A. spoke very pleasantly to him, which was a very good thing, as nothing puts my back up here quite like someone British or Canadian saying "Can I help you?" To me "Can I help you?" is a signal that the speaker belongs there and you do not and your presence is a nuisance into the bargain. However, I was already feeling cross about 1. the Vile Germ 2. mixed messages from the government about church closures 3. the locked door, so perhaps I misjudged him and the man really did want to help us.

Anyway, once the man went back indoors, B.A. and I plunked ourselves on our knees in the grass before the Lourdes grotto instead of the Blessed Sacrament, risking passing Protestants think  we worship Mary, and said the Prayer in Times of Pestilence. Then we walked home, and I started work.

I hope with all my heart that Scotland's priests are asking God to stop the Vile Germ, and not limiting themselves to what the Scottish Bishops said in their statement about praying for people. B.A. wrote to our Archdiocese about the conflicting government instructions about prayer, and they said that the churches would remain "closed to the public." Ever sensitive to words' shades of meaning, I was infuriated by the use of the word "public" to denote THE FAITHFUL, as if the churches are the sole property of the bishops, minor clergy and their lay employees and special volunteers.

At the same time, I am just going to have to trust all the Catholic bishops of the world who have stopped public Masses and even the ones who have shut the churches to prayer on the off-chance that vulnerable if pious people will be tempted into them and pick up the Vile Germ from the back of a pew. Presumably those among them who believe in God have thought and prayed long and hard about this and consulted actual epidemiologists. One of the worst parts about being a Catholic adult in the 21st century is having so little faith in the bishops as a class. It would be much more agreeable to be like the little child I used to be and gaze on them in shy wonder.

By the way, my views on the coercive powers of state have undergone a tweaking, thanks to the media coverage of crowds of people at beaches, pubs, and public parks during a pandemic. The panic-buying and thievery has made an impression, too. Clearly in order to live safely without a state, you need a highly moral and intelligent people. How much better to have fear of God than merely of plod. But there we are.

In cheerful news, B.A. is thriving from working at home. Apparently there are fewer distractions. And I have ordered seeds and compost from eBay, having discovered that Amazon is unlikely to deliver anything earlier than late April. Also, today is the Feast of the Annunciation, so I am drinking the Coffee of Joy instead of the Vile Tea of Lenten Penance.

To cheer up further, I will think about the festivities around the christening of my Polish god-daughter. The sheer joy of sinking into a slipper tub after a long journey by plane and train! The beauty of my córka chrzestna's handmade baptismal finery! The delightful champagne reception, the seat of honour at the top table (a lifetime first), the flaming wild boar!  And if I need to add to the happy thoughts, I will contemplate my cc's parents' splendid wedding, which also featured many wonderful people and things.

Update: Tinned tomatoes in the nearest Co-op! YAY!

Gardening note: Weeded.

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