“Love takes up where knowledge leaves off.” Thomas Aquinas
As I write this, the world has gone crazy. We are worried about COVID-19, about cancelling rehearsals, concerts and worship services. We are all frightened and angry and a bit lost. We worry about our loved ones, our own health and our profession. Many of us are gigging musicians and cancelling a job when we need the money is stressful.
I just made the tough decision of canceling several rehearsals myself; we had just begun our rehearsal cycle. Our concert, as of now, is still on because by May 31 things COULD be back to normal. I’ve been in contact with my venue and they will keep our date scheduled unless something else happens. I am also scrambling to adjust our challenging repertoire to maybe something not QUITE as challenging with rehearsals cut. My singers understand and are resigned, thank goodness, to this adjustment but I am exhausted with trying to decide what is best. I am sure you are too.
Is the stress, of canceling rehearsals and concerts, taking a toll on YOU? Is the uncertainty of the salary you were counting on making you anxious? Are you taking care of yourself so that you may take care of others? As leaders our needs are often overlooked but we need comfort and reassurance as much as anyone else.
I came to understand the need for support of leaders about 15 years ago, when I had a large church job. I conducted four groups and it was a challenging, but great, job. We had a wonderful, congenial staff that enjoyed working with each other and our congregation. But one fall during the space of six weeks, from mid-August to the end of September, staff members EACH suffered a loss. Clergy lost her Grandfather and I lost my Grandmother. The church secretary lost her brother and the Director of Christian Ed lost her father. Our organist also lost his father and the Sexton’s wife had a stroke. To say we were all the walking wounded was an understatement.
Our congregation, while knowing about each of our losses, couldn’t understand why we were just going through the motions of our jobs. At a staff meeting in the middle of all this, our Clergy remarked that we ministers needed to be ministered to. We decided to minister to one another and it was remarkable the difference it made in our healing and our ability to perform our jobs.
We need to take care of ourselves during this time of Pandemic. In our quest to get rehearsal tracks out, virtual rehearsals organized and to make sure our folks know what is happening with rehearsals and concerts, we could also take a little time for ourselves. Perhaps connect with colleagues making the same choices we have had to make for reassurance. Make something yummy and listen to something we haven’t had a chance to lately. Watch a movie we’ve been meaning to or Skype with a loved one we’re worried about. Reach out, while self-distancing, to those who mean something to us to let them know we love them and are thinking of them.
Let’s try to feed our souls while trying to follow the guidelines. Read, draw, write, practice or sight read and be creative in ways we haven’t had time to in our busy lives. But remember this; All Passes-ART alone endures.