Spikes that bind,

Break the mind,

Duplicate and multiply to find,

What is deep within,

The strength that can win,

Unbeknownst to us,

Will never break or bust,

That which is deep enough,

The faith that will forever survive,

No matter if the virus allows us to live or die.

In the first few days of the pandemic, I was surprised that I was actually calm. I kept myself and the house extra clean like usual but remained calm and held it together even though everyone around me was a bit on edge and uneasy. These days in the present time, I feel obedient and faithful (towards my faith). Those are the only things I can have to get through this time.
I am definitely more focused on being healthy, taking time to rest, clean the house(a little extra), cooking good meals for my family- I used to before too, but I have more time and space now. Also, during this time, I am choosing to strengthen my inner self on a spiritual basis. In more recent days, my emotions have been tested for sure, thankfully, not on a physical level, but still on a personal level. It is my nature and has always been that at the sight of a threat, I remain calm. However, I cannot deny the fear, anxiety, and great concern that has taken over me in more recent weeks.

I still remember the Ojihri bombing I lived through in Rawalpindi, Pakistan, in 1988. I was 14 years old and studying at O.P.F. Foundation(an all-girls boarding school). I remember that bombing clearly, and I was calm at that time too. That war(Soviet-Afghan war) eventually came to an end, visually, but as we know today, the Taliban emerged from that war, and we see the consequences of any kind of war, decades later. The Covid-19 pandemic will

long and short term consequences on us worldwide and they will be merciless. It is a true war between us-the human race against the virus. We are trying to outrun and outsmart a virus that has the will and stamina to not only survive, but, potentially, take anyone, especially the elders, and those with preexisting conditions.

As a woman who has lived through the mercy, blessings and horrors of Lupus for over 20 years, I have never really feared it. However, this period tests me in a very personal way, and, for that reason, I chose to create my poem for you. I hope it expresses the challenges, fears, and an acceptance of the lessons in this life that I am possibly not meant to have full control of. I do question if I can do everything in my power and with the medical understanding, I have as I’ve been my own nurse for several decades. Today, I question if it is in my destiny to outsmart and outrun what at times seems much smarter than us. The virus does make me ask questions. Still, I continue to promise myself to do my best, at which I may fail at many times. I choose to live with unconditional love and attempt to heal all relations.

My message to the world is that we are not alone; all of us are in this together. As long as we have a life here on earth, it is our responsibility to do our best to reach out and live with a sense of kindness and mercy. We cannot wallow in self-pity. We must rise to confront what is before us and work on a united front, and It is crucial to connect with people you love and even with strangers.