Inspired
by the
Baha’i Faith
The views expressed in our content reflect individual perspectives and do not represent the official views of the Baha'i Faith. The official website of the Baha'i Faith is: Bahai.org. The official website of the Baha'is of the United States can be found here: Bahai.us.
GOT IT
The views expressed in our content reflect individual perspectives and do not represent the official views of the Baha'i Faith.
How do I become Baha’i?
Justice

During Quarantine, Praying for Shelter – for Us All

Andréana Lefton | Apr 29, 2020

Interested in Other Topics?

We’ve got something for everyone.
Andréana Lefton | Apr 29, 2020

Poems are going viral in the wake of the coronavirus. One, Kitty O’Meara’s “And People Stayed Home”, views quarantine as a needed respite for self and world. 

Stay home and we can heal. The Earth can heal too, the poet reminds us.

When I read her words, I feel a shiver of solace. Beautiful and true! We all need to slow down, nest, remember what’s important. Pollution needs to drop. Consumption needs a reset.

Then another voice chimes in. What about people who can’t shelter in place? What if you’re homeless, a refugee, a child or spouse in an abusive household? Where do you go if home is chaotic or violent or non-existent?

O my Lord, my Beloved, my Desire! Befriend me in my loneliness and accompany me in my exile… – Abdu’l-Baha, Baha’i Prayers

For our bodies and minds to heal, we need peace, a safe haven. For some of us, this refuge is hard to find. I’ve always been lucky to have a home, but since my Mom died in 2010, I’ve felt rootless, and have moved continuously every year since. My journeys have strengthened me, connecting me with many people and stories.

Yet, I wonder: will I ever feel at home in this world? Is there a place for people like me, sensitive, aware of the Earth’s vibration, the heart’s dis-ease?

For unto Three have I raised my hands, O Lord, and in Thee have I found sheltering support, O Lord, and unto Thee have I resigned myself, O Lord, and upon Thee have I placed my whole reliance, O Lord, and by Thee am I strengthened, O Lord. – The Bab, Selections from the Writings of the Bab

I look up from my screen. The sun sets across the Tennessee River, and I am in a house of peace. During this quarantine, my friend Barbara has opened her beautiful guest suite to me, a refuge which looks onto a garden and the river beyond. 

Yet driving back to my noisy apartment the other night, I saw a man, dragging a cardboard box along the side of the road in the pouring rain. Was that his refuge?

With few answers and much confusion, I offer you this poem. It came to me after a sleepless night, and allowed me to pour my questions and worries into words. My hope for us all once the quarantine ends? True shelter in the knowledge of who we are, how we are connected, and why we are living in such interesting times.

Shelter

My house is not a peaceful one.
Wild parties and endless construction
echo through the floor,
and I flee, again and again,
seeking refuge.

Now I – like you –
am grounded and must stay home
though my skin vibrates
with the scream of sirens
and the creak of neighbors
sleepless, like me, and afraid.

How are you feeling? Tell me.

I think of my students,
prisoners
who escape the fluorescent pulse
of their cells by nesting
under state-issued blankets
or in the grace of a power outage –
a momentary breath
of calm.

Sleepless, I worry for midnight workers
who cannot work
and children whose life is interrupted
by the strangle of unseen threats.

And we wonder at eating disorders
and OCD?

Brother, how do you shelter
in places where war has uprooted you
again and again, where no home
of peace exists to welcome you in
and heal the griefs lodged
to your bones, your soul?

I think of you, your families,
and pray for your safekeeping.

Sisters, thank you for making
a hundred makeshift shelters for me,
in the light of your eyes,
and in your downstairs guest room
where doors open to a pale blue garden
and a river of blood-red sky.

I could not have survived
this off-kilter world without you.

And Mother, if you can see us here,
from worlds beyond,
can you swoop down and give shelter
when we wake, lonesome and restless at 3 am?

Sing to us. We need your balm
poured down.

I feel with you: young ones without a partner,
spouses who’ve lost your mates,
doctors and nursing staff so overwhelmed
by a sickness that touches us all –

and the healers who’ve arisen from the ranks –

I feel with you and wonder
how to be helpful at a time like this,
when despair
& hope
flow in equal measure
and we must stay well
& alive enough to give,
making love though our skin
is on fire
and our life is on hold
and our shelter
blue and vast
is trembling.

You May Also Like

Justice

Gender Equality and International Women’s Day

Justice

Stopping Violence Against Women

Justice

Creating a Comprehensive Plan for World Unity and Peace


Comments

characters remaining
  • Danielle Pée
    Jul 11, 2020
    -
    Simply beautiful :)
  • Joan Vining McGovern
    May 2, 2020
    -
    Your words, full of compassion and understanding touch my heart. So many need your words and long for shelter from the storms of life. It will be a new world after we get through and grieve our dead and honor our heroes. It WILL be a different world, it MUST be!!!
    • Andréana Lefton
      May 4, 2020
      -
      Dear Joan, seeing your beautiful, loving response to my article this morning touches me more than I can express. Thank you for BEING the change this world needs!!! Deeply grateful for your vision and insights...
  • Andrew B Lefton
    May 2, 2020
    -
    What must it be like to float in a world of comfort words, yet your outer self continually abrades against the reality of outside? Lovely words, as usual, daughter. -Dad
    • Andréana Lefton
      May 4, 2020
      -
      Such a true statement: the outer world's abrasions collide forcefully with peaceful hopes and visions within. Yet only when the shell breaks, and our words and spirit pour out, can the outer world mirror the refuge we must first build, within. Thank you...
  • Mark David Vinzens
    Apr 29, 2020
    -
    „It came to me after a sleepless night“ If you have a sleepless night again. Read these words of Rumi… „Search the Darkness“, from The Pocket Rumi, by Kabir Helminski:
    „Search the Darkness
    Sit with your friends; don’t go back to sleep
    Don’t sink like a fish to the bottom of the sea.
    Life’s water flows from darkness.
    Search the darkness don’t run from it.
    Night travelers are full of light,
    and you are, too; don’t leave this companionship.
    Be a wakeful candle in a golden dish,
    don’t slip into the dirt like quick silver.
    The moon appears for the night ...travelers,
    be watchful when the moon is full.“
    Read more...
    • Andréana Lefton
      May 4, 2020
      -
      Oh Rumi...you've done it again. Spoken straight to my soul. Thank you Mark for this gorgeous poem and reminder that our darkness can be luminous...
  • Mark David Vinzens
    Apr 29, 2020
    -
    It‘s time that our own homes be filled with the Light of Remembrance... truly, in the remembrance of God hearts find rest.... may our house be a house of peace and a sanctuary of the heart...
x
x
Connect with Baha’is in your area
Welcome!
What's your name?
Thanks my friend ! We want to connect you with a Baha’i in your area, where would that be?
Thank you so much! How can they best reach you?
To put you in touch with a Baha’i in your area who can answer your questions, we would like to kindly ask for a few details about yourself.
Connect with Baha’is in your area
Connect with Baha’is in your area
Get in touch with the Baha’is in your community.