Music Monday · Pandemic

music, hope, and mr. rogers

Today, we got our official “stay home” order from our governor. As of tomorrow, only essential functionaries are free to move on their way. The rest of the state is (in so many words) self-quarantining to slow the spread of COVID-19 in our area.

So this evening, the Vulcan and I went for a walk through our neighborhood, and I saw sign after sign of businesses advertising their curbside menus and even more signs explaining they were closing for the duration of the quarantine. It was such a poignant snapshot for me of what this outbreak means to so many. Not only are folks having to make decisions that affect the health of themselves and their loved ones, they are also being asked to make decisions about the small businesses into which so much blood, sweat and tears have been poured. Businesses that make our neighborhood “ours,” and build a community.

By the time we got home, I felt overwhelmed and defeated. We have tried to support our local businesses–to buy their goods, buy gift cards, to show our support. Our neighbors have done likewise, but is this enough? With a bailout package at the national level that will, most certainly, focus on large corporations, will our leaders see the essential value of our small Mom-and-Pop shops, our little grocery stores, and microbreweries? Will they help us?

Help sometimes comes from unexpected places.

After I begged out of the McMillions documentary about the McDonald’s Monopoly fraud, the Vulcan dug out the episode of Mister Roger’s Neighborhood from our VHR, when Mr. Rogers goes to visit concert pianist André Watt. I was amazed by how much time was devoted to Watt simply playing–making glorious and masterful music–far longer than I would expect even my middle or high schools to listen to music with no agenda but to listen.

And how glad I was that this was Fred Rogers’ expectation for his young audience in 1987, because in 2020, grown-up Emily needed to be wrapped in the warm, comforting blanket of a Chopin étude, a Schubert prelude, and a little piece by Franz Liszt called In a Dream, all in the hands of a master for whom every note is laced with emotion and beauty. It lifted my heart.

In a world that has so much that is not, beauty matters. Music matters. Pausing and breathing it in matters, because it brings hope. I believe God created it to touch us in the deep reaches of the soul that nothing else can touch. Which is why beauty still matters. Music matters. Hope matters.

Happy Music Monday.

See you tomorrow!