Psalty, the singing hymnbook, was popular when our kids were small, his character in musical scripts made them catchy and upbeat about encountering the trials of life with a song in your heart and on your lips.
In the last couple of chaotic weeks, with teachers and students meeting all kinds of challenges, it seems that the world could use that approach, too. In Psalty’s camping adventure, climbing the mountain is proving very difficult, but not if the campers remember to take “one step at a time.” Or, as my preschooler, singing around the house, pronounced it: “one ‘tep at a time.” We still quote her phrase when any one of us is in need of encouragement or perseverance.
In her TED talk, resilience researcher Lucy Hone gives a heartfelt talk about how people cope with the inevitable hard times, how she lived through the loss she experienced that took all her abstract research and made it very real. After posing a series of difficult situations to her audience, and asking them to stand if they were affected, there were very few left sitting.
We feel less alone if we understand that suffering is part of being human, Those who have suffered intuit the suffering of others, begin to reach out to them. They learn to be grateful for the beauties of the small things all around them.
In her book, “Everything Happens for a Reason,” author Kate Bowler talks about the gentleness of the oncologist who reminded her as she faced her worst fears: “Don’t skip to the end.” Jesus told his followers not to take any more than one day at a time. None of us can successfully predict the future, though we do our best to plan for contingencies.
Now that the kids are grown, I find that the person who has most benefited from Psalty’s cheerleading song is me. I can let stress and worry about kids and grandkids and our community take over, or give it over in prayer, then concentrate on just doing the next thing as best as I can. As my husband plots his garden path, his home-fashioned garden stones are laid down one at a time.
While COVID-19 is a struggle for Canadians, most of us have shelter and our basic needs are being met. Fall has its joys, too, the cooler days tempting us to cook delicious soups that simmer for long hours, or bake a fresh batch of oatmeal cookies.
There is so much to be thankful for! So we keep going. One ‘tep at a time.