At an online meeting, human cues are missing: the walking-in and the sitting-down, the sitting and the breathing, and the personal clutter (laptop, phone, notebook, pen, pencil, coffee mug, water bottle – some or all). Thumbnail portraits on a screen don’t show expressive subtleties. Humor can only be verbal, because we can’t see the tiny, instantaneous reactions that are so telling, and so funny, when people work together in a room, and they get along with each other, and something unexpected breaks in.
Online, we talk over each other, two or three voices that stutter to a stop, then two or even three again, then finally one. My voice is soft and often I’m not heard unless I work myself up, repeating a word or phrase, repeating, repeating, until my voice is audible in the cracks and pauses, and then I feel that I am ridiculously shouting. Meeting after meeting stutters on; it is how most of my day is spent. I find that I am crouching in my chair.
But I need to work; what would I do without structure to my day. I have to find ways to adjust to these awkward interactions with glass, keyboard, and thin air. I have to adjust to the loneliness. I suspect that there are a lot of us quietly, politely decompensating in place. Everyone is struggling; who am I to draw attention to myself. In fact, when I did ask someone for help, perhaps not clearly enough, that is the answer I got.
I am not going to pray to You, I am going to address myself. Anything I say will be better than Your silence.
Oh, come on; what do I have to complain about; stop this pointless hand-wringing! How can I let a mildly disoriented life get to me, as I sit in my peaceful house and know that I have paid work tomorrow! Stop it at once!
Enough of that!
Here, friend: maybe you would like some beauty. Hear how this piece builds, how the individual parts speak first and then weave together. When you are in the middle of it, there is nothing like it. Individual yet united; expressive yet inward; quiet and powerful at once.
The anthem is in German. The English translation, provided on this wiki, is:
In these our days so perilous,
Lord, peace in mercy send us;
No God but thee can fight for us,
No God but thee defend us;
Thou our only God and Saviour.
Play it a few times!
Let it pray for you.
Some videos include orchestral accompaniment, but it seems overly sweet to me. The piano is all this piece needs, and the performance by this accompanist is perfection.
July 5, 2020 COVID-19 Infections and Deaths