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February 23, 2021

6 of 40

How soft this Prison is

How sweet these sullen bars

No Despot but the King of Down

Invented this repose

Of Fate if this is All

Has he no added Realm

A Dungeon but a Kinsman is

Incarceration — Home.

Emily Dickinson

Home is a place. But a place can be a country, a region, a community, a neighborhood, a house, a room, a bed – you.

For some, this year in Lent home has been collapsing into a room, or few. The “sullen bars” have become more of many minds than actual risk. I have a friend who will, miraculously, somehow, have gotten the second shot soon. Even after that, no eating outside at restaurants. Safety is not just The Science.

We are told to wear our masks for at least 6 months after everyone who can be immunized, is. And the vaccine is 95% effective.

No, home is where the heart is.

And the heart is full when it is first safe, then loved. The actual disease of our plague has killed one half million, and many more by its isolation of the sick, addicted, violent and predatory. So home becomes where you are safe in this plague time.

The downy prisons are everywhere, but we cannot know them, because they are safe from us. Each life is safe, often, because it limits risk.

Home is only home when you leave it. Otherwise it is just where you live. Some people are not leaving where they live so safety becomes their home. Safety is only love by denial, an oxymoron of loving absence.

That denial, I think, extends to following what you know, and losing faith beyond what you know. We “follow” the Science, but we made the Science. It is easy to declare any meaning as the only meaning, to get the miraculous injection when others are at greater risk, to stay in your bed. But if you are just you there is no room for God.

We are what we know, but we are also hope. If we are our homes, and only in our homes, in our safety, where are we? If we spend the day in our downy prison, we are safe, now, but where are we when there is hope beyond our bed?

If we are hope, we are also some tiny bit of faith. And faith is not the Science, even though we made it.

Spring will come. Easter will come. Will we leave our homes?

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