I know that I have lamented before about the paucity of quality content on the Internet. There is so much junk to wade through in order to find the good stuff. But there is good stuff. During the weeks of this pandemic what I am finding during this pandemic is that people are sharing content that is meaningful as they seek to reach out and stay connected. There are fewer cat videos and more videos of people helping others. There are fewer combative political comments and more inspirational quotes from spiritual leaders of all stripes. Musicians are posting live house concerts. Museums are offering virtual tours of their holdings. Libraries are offering live story time and movies, ebooks and other content.
David Brooks, in his column for the March 26 issue of New York Times wrote, “The paradigmatic image of this crisis is all those online images of people finding ways to sing and dance together across distance.” I’ve seen videos of Italians dancing and serenading each other from balconies, Baltimoreans singing the national anthem from their iconic stoops, policeman lip-synching and dancing in the streets to entertain those in quarantine, two children playing violin and dancing to a Coldplay song, and so much more. These are celebrations of life and the desire to be connected to one another. Again I quote Brooks who quotes Avivah Gottlieb Zornberg, “Those videos call to mind that moment of Exodus when Miriam breaks into song. ‘It is the dance that generates the light, the women produce an energy in the light of which all participate equally in the presence of God.’”
Singing and dancing beg for us to join in. Even when we do not know the song, we feel a sense of connection as we hear and watch the singers. I have sung in choirs since I was a child. I have a profound affection for choral singing. A few weeks ago I posted a video of the Wartburg Choir singing the gospel song “Ain’t No Grave.” This week I saw their video of Rene Clausen’s “It Is Well with My Soul.” This video may be a reminder of normal times. No one is social distancing, masked up, or vigorously washing hands. These talented young people simply sing and it is beautiful, calming, graceful, sonorous…angelic. Listen and be transported to your special place of peace and calm. Come back often to listen and be changed.
There will be many changes in the world as a result of this pandemic, one could be that each of us finds the value of and time for being still and at peace. Let’s get it in our bones now so that when normalcy returns part of the new normal will be the practice of life-giving peacefulness.