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Column: Some of us save lives, others inspire with music. We’ve all got something to contribute
Shannon Casas high res
Shannon Casas

When a COVID-19 patient is released from our local hospital, “Don’t Stop Believin’” plays over the loud speaker.

Clearly the nurses and doctors caring for patients with COVID-19 are our heroes right now. They risk their own health to help others and, no question, deserve our praise and thanks.

They deserve some encouragement, too. I hope Code Believe provides some of that.

Music has always been a huge encouragement for me.

When I struggled daily to care for a child who wanted nothing to do with me, music got me through it.

When another foster care case did a quick 180, leaving best-laid plans in shambles, music was there.

When I said goodbye to a couple of kids and buried my feelings about it for weeks, I eventually turned to music. 

Songs have helped me process the emotions of infertility, persevere against injustices and honor the memory of loved ones who have died.

So, amid this pandemic, I, of course, have been encouraged by music. 

Those who entertain us have a useful role to play.

Are musicians, athletes or actors saving those hospitalized with COVID? I hope not. Even the stars of “Grey’s Anatomy” aren’t going to be much good at saving actual lives. 

But I don’t find it helpful to discount their contributions to the world. 

A mini-concert on Instagram may not save the world. Perhaps for some it is just a distraction. But an artist putting heartfelt lyrics out into the world can be powerful stuff when it helps us process what is going on around us. 

As tours have been postponed, and filming delayed and seasons canceled, we’ve lost some experiences that bring us joy. 

A great scene from a TV show or movie can be good for the soul. Watching your favorite team pull off a comeback brings a sense of community and team spirit.

For me, there’s nothing like watching one of my favorite artists live with a crowd just enthusiastic as I am, shouting out all the words, arms held high.

Those mini-concerts where I get to know the artist on a more personal level and see them play on a screen from their living room, are meaningful.

I watch little hearts float up on the side of the screen as other viewers do the online version of raising their hands to the sky. Sometimes those viewing will comment about that concert they saw in Atlanta last year, a few others say the same, and for the moment, we join virtually. It’s the best we’ve got for now. We can still leave the experience encouraged and maybe with a renewed focus to tackle the problems surrounding us.

We all need to contribute our talents to the world. God bless those whose talents require them to suit up in PPE and literally save lives. 

The rest of us can contribute something, too. Maybe that’s using our resources to donate and deliver food to those in need or organize those kinds of efforts. Maybe that’s sharing words of encouragement in a column or Facebook post or sermon. Maybe that’s making someone laugh. Maybe it’s just showing up to work every day to process chicken or stock shelves.

Whatever you can contribute, now is the time to step up and do it.

I’ll leave you with a few lyrics from a band I’ve been listening to a lot lately.

I want to see the world change

I want to build love where there's hate

I want to find gold in every person

I wanna sing about hope in desperate situations

Graffiti dreams” by Judah and the Lion

Shannon Casas is editor in chief of The Times and a foster parent. 

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