Just this morning, Maryanne, our mentor and friend Bob Sitze (from fullofyears.org), and I were talking about the changes that we as a society are undergoing right now, what works and what doesn’t as we wind our way through the many losses during Covid-19: the loss of what we were used to, what is normal, jobs, loved ones, finances, faith in science, government, or our own identity as we knew it.
We talked about stories of others who have been through a difficult time, much more difficult than we have now, have survived. Listening to those stories and learning from their wisdom gives us an insight into how we also can get through difficult times and come out as changed rather than broken people on the other side.
Bob shared the story of a man named Heinrich Schütz. He was a renowned German composer who lived through the black plague and the Thirty Years’ War. On the blog preludemusicplanner.com, it says the following about how Schütz had to innovate composing music after the loss of musicians and singers:
…in 1630, Schütz discovered that the combined effects of plague and the Thirty Years’ War had exacted a significant toll on the personal, economic, and material resources which had sustained his work in
previous years. Throughout the next two decades, he composed many works for small performing forces and sparse accompaniment, though these pieces in no way lacked the quality and craft of his larger works for multiple choirs and instruments.
Schütz had to improvise, take what he had available, and work with it, making new music in a way that the musicians he had could play it. He was salvaging and reusing and creating from scratch.
In our conversation this morning, Bob reminded us that we are not used to the discipline of salvaging in our society anymore. We throw things away when they lose their function and we buy new and better rather than repairing and making new out of old. We have forgotten how to practice res
urrection in our daily life.
Telling the stories of how others have overcome hardship, how they have lived the resurrection, is a great way to learn about what is possible. St. Teresa of Avila or St. Julian of Norwich are both great examples of surviving loss of health and two pandemics. They both took strength from their mystical experiences and their unending thirst for connection with God. Here is what Teresa of Avila says about that:
Let nothing disturb you,
Let nothing dismay you, all things pass.
God never changes.
Patience attains all that it strives for.
He who has God finds he lacks nothing. God alone suffices.
Maryanne and I have hosted a few connecting circles for women on Zoom ,and we asked them this question: What new things are you learning about yourself during this time? Here are some of the themes that
emerged in our conversations:
1. We are more resilient and capable than we believe we are.
2. We can do hard things.
3. We are able to adapt to new circumstances.
4. Technology can serve as a support system for all of us.
5. We are still able to connect with one another, even though we cannot see each other face to face.
6. We are able to live with less.
7. Living with less is liberating.
8. We can continue to be a support system to one another.
9. We can adapt.
10. We can be creative.
11. Family time and connections with others are important.
12. We can learn new roles.
13. We can create beauty.
14. We can keep doing God’s work in this world.
What would you add to that list? In what ways are you growing, salvaging, and creating new things in your life right now? How are you living the resurrection?