Skip to main content

Pandemic Elf: Holiday music

Hello, I am the Pandemic Elf. I am your trail guide through the Holiday Path winding through the Pandemic Forest. My job is to point out detours, sinkholes, and other dangers so they don't catch you unawares. 

First up: MUSIC! 

So I was hurtling down TX-130 (literally - the speed is 80, and judging by the vehicles around me, that's a minimum speed) to meet my best friend, the BFF-DRE, in La Grange, which is more or less the middle point between her house in Houston and mine in Austin. I turned on a Spotify playlist of songs from Firestone Christmas albums which some dear soul compiled to kind of jump-start my holiday spirit. 

Oh my. 

Oh my my my. 

This is not 2019. Things are different this year. 

As each song came on, I couldn't help but talk back to them, and rather sardonically: 

♪ It's the Most Wonderful Time of the Year! 
    Yeah, dude, but this is 2020. Pretty low bar.

♪ Here We Come a Caroling ...
    Ack! You're not wearing a mask! And singing in one of the biggest ways to spread covid! (slams door)

♪ City sidewalks, busy sidewalks ...
    Nope. No, they're not. And if they are, they shouldn't be. Call your governor and demand lockdown. 

♪ ...And when you walk down the street, say hello to friends you know, and everyone you meet.
    I can't recognize anyone I know under these masks. And saying hello = potential transmission.

♪ I'll be home for Christmas, you can plan on me.
    (Bursts into tears.)

So, forewarned is forearmed. When listening to the classic songs of yore (yore=every year before 2020), you have three choices: 

1) Laugh out loud and mock those lyrics which SO do not work in this time of Pandemic; 

2) Ignore the pandemic, and be transported to pre- or post-covid world; 

3) Cry.

Frankly, all the choices are good ones. I intend on a carefully orchestrated combination, depending on the song and what I'm feeling in any given moment. 

Interesting note to my religious liberal friends. You know who you are. The ones reading ahead in the hymnal to see if you agree with the next line, ready to quibble over word choices: 

The songs that still work this year are actually the religious ones. Silent Night and Hark the Herald Angels Sing and O Little Town of Bethlehem. So listen away. Use your universal translator and translate Jesus or Baby or King into something that gives you hope, maybe Dr. Fauci or Stacey Abrams or Ron Klain or Cyrus Vance

Let every heart prepare him room. 

Or just enjoy the metaphor of a baby being born into a scary, unjust world who would grow up to talk about peace and healing people and loving your neighbor and overthrowing corrupt systems. 


Comments

Popular posts from this blog

Don't Trust Your Instincts, or, "Well-Meaning People Can Exacerbate Big Problems"

My evangelical friends talk about being "convicted." That moment when you hear or read a message and like an arrow, it dives into your heart, and you know that you have been guilty, and you have some growing to do. At the very beginning of my learning about Bowen systems theory, the professor was laying out the basic idea: that we all feel anxiety, and when we do, we act (often in unhealthy ways) in order to lessen our anxiety. And in an unhealthy system with emotionally immature people -- a family, a business, a church -- one person's anxiety can trigger the anxiety of others. Here's a great primer on that. Really great. Like, watch it 20 times in a row. Or every morning as you drink your coffee. (I'm not kidding. I think your life would be better. Consider it a spiritual practice.) So back to my conviction moment. The professor went on to talk about how when we see someone who is "vibrating" with anxiety, our instinct is often to rush over,

The Most Controversial Thing I'll Write All Year

Back when you were a kid, you learned a lesson. It was wrong. And it's time for you to unlearn it. You learned that you were responsible for other people's feelings. Not that you should care about other people's feelings. (You should.) Not just that you should be sensitive to other people's feelings. (You should.) But you were taught that you were actually responsible for other people's feelings. It happens in almost all homes, even the loving ones. In abusive homes, it's more blatant. If Dad is unhappy, you get hit. So you learn that it is actually your responsibility to keep him happy, or there would be consequences. But even in non-abusive homes, it happened. If Mama ain't happy, ain't nobody happy.  You are not responsible for other people's feelings. That's their job. And in fact, you are crossing their boundary if you try to control their feelings. They get to decide how they feel about something, not you. They may decide that you

Me and My Collar

You may run into me on a Friday, in my neighborhood, so it's time I let you know what you might see. When I was doing my required unit of Clinical Pastoral Education (CPE), my supervisor suggested that any of us who came from traditions where a clerical collar was an option, take one "collar week," to see how we were treated, as opposed to wearing regular professional clothes. After a couple of days, I joked to the Catholic priest, "How do you manage the power?" In regular clothes, I would walk into a patient's room, and it would take about 5 or so minutes of introductions and pleasantries before we could really get down to talking about their feelings, their fears, the deep stuff. With most people, as soon as that clerical collar walked in the room, with me attached, they began pouring out all the heavy stuff they were carrying. I was riding the bus back and forth every day, and though not quite so dramatic, the collar effect was alive there, to