31st March – A Prayer for Today

In the dead of night I heard a diesel engine idling,
it must be the milkman.
I reached for the alarm clock,
the illuminated dial read 1:35.

Half awake and half asleep
I make my way to the front door
and brought in the 4L bottle.
Attached was a note:

‘I have received a huge number of new calls
from people who are self-isolating
and in need of milk and other products,
to accommodate this, I am altering my delivery days …’

One bloke who has struggled for years to maintain his round
doing his best to help.
I return to bed, thankfully
thinking of him on this bitter-cold night.

Then my thoughts turn to others
who work through the hours of darkness.

I call to mind my parents –
like so many who are frail and lost
(living in a time-slip landscape of confusion) –
and the night staff, their carers.

All carers, who in Lock-down carry
the full responsibility for love,
transmitted in the still-understood language
of smiles and hand-holding.

we hold with thanks and gratitude
all who work, who care, who give of themselves;
those who – whether they know it or not –
inch us nearer to your coming Kingdom.

Michael Mays