There is an interesting game that is played as an icebreaker at various functions that teaches us to re-think our way of looking at other people and their jobs.
The facilitator of the exercise writes a whole variety of occupations on little slips of paper and puts them in a hat for others to pull out — one for each person. Looking at the slip of paper, the participant will find anything from “lawyer” to “teacher” to “dog trainer” for example.
The facilitator then explains a scenario to the participants: an apocalyptic event has happened that has destroyed society’s infrastructures. This could have been an earthquake — such as happened in Haiti in 2010 — or a hurricane such as Katrina which nearly destroyed Louisiana in 2005.
We know how those tragedies brought everything to a standstill in those first days after the events.
Then, participants are asked to line themselves up according to importance of their careers — after the tragedy. They quickly find that life as we know it has been turned upside down.
The lawyer and banker are dispensable to us in those first days, while the people who pick up the garbage and build our roads are totally indispensable. They stand at the head of the line while others line up behind them and a new pecking order of status is created.
Waste disposal folks, truckers, medical help and those who feed us and clean up for us become the most important people to get us through the first days of any tragedy.
Think about it. Could we live without them?
And of course, we rely on the kindness and generosity of each other.
We are looking at the world with different eyes these days.
Our respect for those on the front lines of our battle against COVID-19 virus is of heroic proportions. We know there are people out there working so that most of us can stay at home. We know there are people out there taking a chance with their own health, so that most of us remain safe.
This past week, I couldn’t help but think of the Leon Dubinsky song made so famous by The Rankins: “We Rise Again.” How perfect those words are for these times.
According to Wikipedia, Dubinsky wrote the song for a 1984 stage musical “The Rise and Follies of Cape Breton,” as an anthem of resilience and hope at a time when the island was going through an economic crisis.
He said the song is about "the cycles of immigration, the economic insecurity of living in Cape Breton, the power of the ocean, the meaning of children, and the strength of home given to us by our families, our friends and our music."
As ocean people, we fill our hearts with hope whenever we sing:
"We rise again in the faces
Of our children
We rise again in the voices of our song
We rise again in the waves out on the ocean
And then we rise again
When the light goes dark with the forces of creation
Across a stormy sky
We look to reincarnation to explain our lives
As if a child could tell us why
That as sure as the sunrise
As sure as the sea
As sure as the wind in the trees
We rise again in the faces …"
Written by Leon Dubinsky
As Cape Bretoners, we know that we will rise again, because we always do. But we also know that the world has been forever changed by what we all face in common — all 7.6 billion of us across the world.
Today and in the weeks to come, our world has been turned upside down by the COVID-19 virus.
As you read this column, it is nearly Easter weekend. And the story of Easter is all about rising again. It is a Christian story of Resurrection.
The religious and spiritual among our 7.6 billion share a common belief of universal Creation by something much, much larger than we human beings who are blessed to walk this earth. And a common theme of Creation is an ever-constant ebb and flow of the good and bad. Of climbing mountains and falling into valleys. Of death and resurrection.
Blessings to you all for a thoughtful Easter. An Easter that makes us feel grateful for what we have in the midst of a time when so much is in danger of being lost.
Many of us will endure an Easter in isolation without the physical company of those we love. But keep heart … for resurrection is just around the corner. And what a banquet we will have when we come together again.
Rosemary Godin is a retired clergy and print journalist. She lives with hubby and Chuck (the dog) in Westmount where she learns a new word every day – and some are repeatable. You can reach her at: email@example.com.