“What is a weed? A plant whose virtues have never been discovered.” Ralph Waldo Emerson
Today is the first Thursday of December. In normal times, I’d be reminding you to slow down and relax. Perhaps I’d be clever and suggest you stop and take time to smell the Christmas Cookies. In years past, I’d advise not to let snowstorms or sick sopranos get you down when they force a change in your plans but this year, what can I say? Our plans are already so mucked up, there isn’t much to say.
Some of you are doing remote or virtual concerts and worship services. Some of you may be playing in-person to a few folks, spread out, but there’s no singing. In addition, you feel like you’re doing it wrong, whatever “it” is, and no one can tell you differently since they also feel they are doing “it” wrong. Some of you may be doing NOTHING and feel sad and empty but also feel you shouldn’t feel that way because at least you have your health. It’s all been a swirl of emotions this year and each one of us are feeling things we have never felt before.
Many of us feel unsettled and uncomfortable because we are off our schedule for the first time in our professional lives. The last time I did NOT have a Christmas gig–of some sort–was when I was expecting my youngest in mid-December and was just too uncomfortable (and HUGE) to do anything. The following year, I had just been hired for a church position and was preparing to begin the New Year with a new job. Since then, I’ve done something Holiday Music related almost every year; and it’s been awhile.
One thing, one person really, who has helped me stay on schedule and helped me (and our family) have some structure during the Pandemic is Russell, my son with autism. Russ doesn’t care if we don’t have deadlines or rehearsals and can eat when we want, he just wants his dinner at the usual time. He doesn’t care if we’re binge-watching “Miss Marple” or “Vera,” he wants his shower and to go to bed when he’s used to. And his breakfast–with the one cup of coffee he’s allowed per day–better be ready when gets up or he’ll start looking for people to make it. Autism isn’t usually looked upon as a positive thing, but in these times that’s the way I feel. Those of you with young children on schedules probably feel the same way; being forced to have some part of your normal life is a blessing during the Pandemic.
I am getting out my Christmas decorations (and decorated for Thanksgiving and Halloween) in the next few days. Russ looks forward to the wreaths and the red bows and the Nutcrackers and that’s what he’s going to get, especially this year. It’s something I can do that’s “normal” for our family.
So that’s my advice to you during this strange year; try to do some of the normal things you do. Bake the cookies and fry the Latkes and decorate. As Ben suggested a few weeks ago, sing in the privacy of your own home. Do something that feels normal because there IS light at the end of the tunnel!
For the rest of December, I’ll be rerunning a few seasonal blogs from the last few years, updating them for our current situation when appropriate.
Until next week, be well and be safe!
I am taking my Choral Ethics Blogs to my chamber choir’s Facebook page for the foreseeable future. Please join me there this morning! https://www.facebook.com/themidwestmotetsociety/