Shifting Narratives

May 28, 2021


I knew it was going to be intense. My sister manages international telecommunications projects so I knew the weekend of celebration events for my twin nieces’ high school graduation would be managed down to the minute. It was all that on steroids with the added dynamic of detailed plans changing on the fly with a flurry of texts. My intention was to get on the plane, fly to Colorado, and just go with the flow. This graphic pretty much sums up the contrast of my rhythms here at MossTerra and the torrent of activity I stepped into. 

The days were beyond packed. With relaxed pandemic restrictions, the seniors were able to have a prom, a decorated car parade, and graduation all in one weekend. Each of these activities was of course surrounded by photo sessions, dinners, and parties. It was mad. It was wonderful. And it was all about making up for a senior year in pandemic hibernation. 

I get it. The seniors lost so much this past year. Social events, school events, and senior class traditions were all lost to them. It was good they had those days of celebration. Yet there was an underlying narrative of victimization at play in all this. 

While my circles, friends, and spiritual communities have been sitting with the questions of what gifts and lessons we received in these past months of lockdown, it was a contrast to be with people who were sitting primarily with the question of when things will return to normal. I found myself listening for a narrative that didn’t focus on being victims but rather focused on how these challenging times offered insights for shaping a new normal and stronger character. But I didn’t hear that. The graduation speeches were mostly filled with acknowledgements of the tough times seniors had survived with little mention of the important gifts of resilience and adaptation beyond being techniques for pandemic survival. 

Venturing out of my MossTerra bubble, it was important for me to see and experience this victim perspective as a significant narrative in our country as we climb out of pandemic hibernation. I continue to hope that we will navigate this time of change and challenge with a new narrative. We throw around the saying what doesn’t kill you makes you stronger and I will continue to listen for the narratives of the strength and resilience that will be essential in addressing the challenges we face as people, as communities, and as a nation. 

And in my time in Boulder, I did hear one amazing story….

Judith –