All posts by Anne Simmonds

Big Rant and Little Prayer During COVID-19

It’s kind of a death
Death of life as we’ve known it.
It’s only starting to sink in.
I feel bereft.
I’m letting go of things
One by one:
The hugs
seeing family
lunches with friends
classes at the YMCA

summer festivals
The farmer’s market
The summer holiday
Fall courses —
The list is endless and with each passing day it only grows:
Art classes
More hugs

This is real grief
This is unknown territory
This is sadness
Loss of the familiar
Loss of looking forward
Loss of anticipation
Complete loss of what was.

Fighting against what is:
The sameness
The masks
The appropriate distance
The plexiglass
The tape markers
The plywood storefronts
The lineups
I’m tired of it all
I want it to end
but all I hear and see are signs that it won’t end
The “new normal” they call it
Well, I’m not in!

I don’t want it.
I want what was —
Except for the pollution and environmental degradation.
The only shred of hope I feel is for mother earth
We’ve beaten her up; now with this virus she is beating us up
bringing us to our knees
flat on our face and holding us down.

Please could we just have a little break here?
Sun and warmth would be a start.
Farmers markets

Oh, how much I’ve taken even the basics of life for granted.
Help me to never do this again.
Help me to be present in this healthy body
Be grateful:
I have enough nutritious food
A lovely roof over my head
Loving arms of my partner any time I want.
Why do I think this is not enough?
Dear God, let it be enough
At least for today and tomorrow.

My Help

Prior to the current days of isolation, in my Spiritual Companioning practice, I met with some folks at a distance, on Facetime. My sessions begin with a time of guided prayer. I use a book by Joyce Rupp as a resource. Recently, with someone I usually meet in person, it happened that Rupp’s 10-line prayer for the day was based on the second verse of Psalm 121. Even though I had looked at the prayer before our meeting, I had not noticed its source text until I picked it up to read with my client. I was suddenly overcome with tears. Psalm 121 was my father’s favourite Psalm. I had to stop reading. I did something I promised myself I would never do again. I apologized for my tears.
When my children were growing up, we listened to records. One of our favourites was Free to be You and Me, by Marlo Thomas. One of the songs goes like this:

“It’s alright to cry. Crying gets the sadness out.
It’s alright to cry, it might even make you feel better.”

I promised myself not to apologize for tears when I heard over and over again at the bedside of the sick and dying, “I’m sorry”, when tears emerged. Tears are a gift. They cleanse and heal.
We are all grieving. My invitation is to not be afraid of your tears as you experience the daily losses. There is no hierarchy of loss and pain. If something important to you is gone, even temporarily, it is normal and natural to be sad or angry about it. Lean into those feelings, let the tears come if they are there. If that is hard, write about it, put on music or read a poem that takes you there, like this one did for me;

My Help
Psalm 121:2

Looking back on my life
I cannot count the times
I’ve called for your aid.
Looking back on my life
I cannot count the times
You were there for me.
Looking back on my life
I cannot count the times
When I forgot you were near,
And fell into the pit of my woes.

When you need help, call out to the one Rupp names “my help,” and don’t apologize for any tears that are part of the response. You might even feel better! Blessings.


Rupp, Joyce, Fragments of Your Ancient Name: 365 Glimpses of the Divine for Daily Meditation, page, March 24.


I am increasingly alarmed about the climate emergency. I find it difficult to watch others engage in behaviours which we know contribute to the problems: for example, unnecessary single-use plastics, and idling vehicles. People say: “What I do doesn’t make a difference.” or “What’s the point, we are too far gone.” I find that troubling. I care about what is happening for future generations.
I was becoming bolder; in particular asking people who were idling in their cars to turn them off. In one instance a school bus driver was sitting with the bus going, windows down. It was beside a park where groups of day camp children were playing. None were on their way to this bus, which was waiting for them. When I brought it to the driver’s attention and asked if he himself had children. He replied “Yes, I just wasn’t thinking. Thank you.” He turned the motor off. Emboldened by such responses, I found myself speaking to others.
Recently, slowing my bike to turn at the top of my street, a youngish black woman sits in an idling SUV with her windows open. I nicely ask if she might turn off the ignition to reduce pollution.
“We all need to be aware of contributing to pollution and climate change.” I add. “Isn’t it just lovely that your white privilege affords you the opportunity to worry about climate change. You have no idea! I don’t even know if my 17-year-old son will make it home tonight or be shot by police”, she replies.
She continues in anger to describe the whole back community as “still slaves of you white people, many struggling just to put food on the table. These are our issues. You have no idea from your place of luxury and privilege.”
I am quiet, stunned and silenced. She continues for what feels like 15 minutes. I listen to the far-ranging comments about how black slaves still exist as “they” continue to do “our” dirty-work. In spite of her anger, I hear her pain and truth. A couple of times I am moved to tears: compassion for her and all people who have suffered at the hands of white Europeans; shame at my superior sounding attitude towards the needs of mother earth.
I need to keep going. She shows no sign of letting up. I ask her name, which she tells me. “That’s a beautiful name,” I say, “I need to go now.”
I ride away humbled, challenged. Her rage palpable, valid. I wonder what lies just under the surface of our “civilized society”. The increase in the verbiage and actions of white supremacists among us is alarming.
Significantly, this was the first time I have felt first-hand what it feels like to be dismissed; the recipient of another’s rage, maybe hated, just because of my skin colour. That alone marks me as privileged. It is because I am a white woman. Earlier in my life when struggling with being a woman in a male dominated patriarchal world, I thought possibly my experience was like that of a black person. I know that this is not the case. I am privileged because I am white. I live in a society that remains systematically racist.
Climate justice, racial justice, and economic justice. Maybe we can’t have one on this planet without the others.