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Finding Hope

Susan Collins Uncategorized

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I believe in the sun
even when it is not shining
And I believe in love
even when there’s no one there
And I believe in God
even when [s]he is silent
I believe through any trial
there is always a way
But sometimes in this suffering
and hopeless despair
My heart cries for shelter
to know someone’s there
But a voice rises within me saying,
‘Hold on my child;
I’ll give you strength, I’ll give you hope
Just stay a little while…”
I believe in the sun
even when it is not shining
And I believe in love
even when there’s no one there
And I believe in God
even when [s]he is silent
I believe through any trial
There is always a way
May there someday be sunshine
May there someday be happiness
May there someday be love
May there someday be peace.

I first experienced a performance of this song in the mid-1990s at a state honor choir performance. Students in 5th and 6th grade from throughout Mississippi had started months before auditioning and learning the music to be performed. Music educators and family members packed the auditorium for this culminating performance. I didn’t have any students in the choir that year (I think I was teaching a different age group), so I was not familiar with the musical selections. I remember the performance so vividly it could have just happened.

I was sitting in this auditorium full of people chatting as we waited for the large choir to get set up on the stage. There was nothing unusual about any of it. The guest conductor was introduced, made the usual comments about the privilege of working with the students, how well prepared they were, and how hard they had worked. Then, without any lead-in, they turned and began conducting the opening number.

One student spoke a narrative explaining the lyrics’ origin as the introduction sang through the piano into the auditorium. Then the choir began to sing. Children’s voices are very pure and angelic sounding. As the choir performed, a sense of peace and hope flooded over me. I was not going through anything incredibly difficult, but the emotion portrayed by the choir, the strength of the music and the message of the lyrics combined to create an other-worldly experience for me.

I was immersed in the music and the whole-being sensory experience I was having. When the audience erupted in applause, I jolted in my seat. It was a hard jerk out of my meditation and back into reality.

After that performance, I looked up the song and obtained a copy of the music (which was no easy task without Google). These words have stayed with me over the years. They bring hope and push me to persevere when I cannot find a light in the darkness. I cannot imagine anything more hopeless than the situation faced by millions of Europeans during WW2 and Nazi rule. Yet these inspiring words challenge me to look beyond the concrete sensory experience I have of reality and believe in light and goodness during the darkest of times.

2020 is a challenging year.

What gives you the inspiration to push through?
What gives you hope?
Where do you find light in the darkness?

 

 

 

*Quoting from a Russian folk tune, composer Z. Randall Stroope arranged a stunning choral and instrumental piece called “INSCRIPTION OF HOPE”. Based on fragments of Jewish text found on a cellar wall in Cologne, Germany during World War II, it is believed to have been scrawled by a child hiding from the Nazis.

 

I began my teaching career in 1991 in rural Mississippi. I served in 4 different communities in central and north Mississippi as a music educator, mostly elementary general music with one year as a middle school band director. I stepped out of working full time in the classroom for 9 years when my children were very young but never left teaching. I set up an early childhood music studio and taught music for children ages birth to age 5 (with an adult caregiver). I moved to in northwest rural Arizona in 2016 where I teach k-5 general music. I achieved National Board Certification in the fall of 2016 and began my relationship with the Arizona K12 Center for Professional Development. I have served as a 2017-18 Arizona Hope Street Group Teacher Fellow and a Candidate Support Provider for National Board Candidates. I am passionate about advocating for the needs of rural schools and ensuring that every student receives an excellent education provided by passionate and qualified educators. When I am not teaching, advocating, or writing about education issues, I am outdoors with my teenage children. I love hiking, reading, and going to musical performances. I can usually be found off the grid pondering my next writing piece!

Comments 1

  1. Nicole Wolff

    This year is so incredibly challenging! My colleagues are what give me inspiration. I don’t know how they continue to persevere through all the challenges we face, but somehow they do. I sincerely hope they remain in the teaching profession after this year. I constantly worry about teacher retention. Thank you for the uplifting words!

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