Thirty-two participants gathered tonight, hailing from Argentina, CA, NJ, NY, ME, OR, PA, Portugal, TX, and WA. We watched a video of “Found/Tonight” (a mash-up from two B-way musicals Hamilton and Dear Evan Hansen), then took a minute to read the text with the lyrics.
One person commented on the dedication of the song being “For the Children.” A new grandfather said that resonated for him, because “much of what we do is for those coming long after us.” There was attention given to the lyrics “look up” and “reach out” and that “those who want to be found” need to believe another will be there.
One participant observed “This is what we do here in Narrative Medicine. We find each other.” Another commented that the music we had just listened to sounds like an anthem and reminds her of Simon and Garfunkel’s “Bridge Over Troubled Waters” and, perhaps, the fight within the musical Les Miserable.
Another person thought of a Biblical verse, remembered as “He who loses his life will find it.” Two participants said that the listening was not comforting and/or reminded them of those who are alone due to COVID-19. The shields in the singing music booths took on new meanings in the context of the plexiglass we’ve been seeing go up to enforce social distancing in a COVID-19 world. One other participant said “the song transcends time and people.”
Another shared about hugging her grandchild, which she had not done in a long time, and realized how much she has missed doing that. Another person responded, saying that our texts, in this space, are like hugs.
Most people related the medley to COVID-19 and, as one said, “the fight of this last year.” A participant said it made her think of the healthcare workers “whose every shift this past year was a fight” and wanted to thank them. Another chatted in, in response, that she had contracted COVID at her hospital and appreciated the recognition and expression of gratitude.
We wrote for 4 minutes to the prompt: Write about your part in the fight.
The first reader aligned himself with Don Quijote jousting with windmills as he fights the good fight with systems that he “cannot let taint our beautiful profession” as he continues to train young physicians and care for patients. He invites others to “keep telling the stories” as he battles for writing and health justice.
The second reader began by calling her actions “small” and then told of rescuing a dog, the many ways she keeps her mother connected to the outside world, in these days of Covid-19. She teaches and mentors students, and particularly students in their last year of medical school. She said her part is “to give something positive to focus on.” Those of us listening reflected to the reader that we did not hear the numerous things she does as “small,” but rather as a celebration of the “many roles we play” in the many worlds we inhabit. To prove this point even further, a participant shared a quote by Mother Teresa: “It is not the magnitude of our actions, but the amount of love that is put into them that matters.”
Our next readers shared questions about whether “fight is even a metaphor I feel my own” or about “what is the fight”. We saw empathy as “incubating in warriors” and hope “shedding” along the way, reimagining the “shedding” of the virus we’ve heard so much about over the past year. One reader’s part in the fight was putting together seemingly fragmented pieces of hope, while another reader’s was to acknowledge the road we’ve traveled so far and celebrate the pioneering women who indeed have “won the fight” of their lifetimes.
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Found/Tonight - Lin-Manuel Miranda and Ben Platt We may not yet have reached our glory But I will gladly join the fight And when our children tell their story They'll tell the story of tonight They'll tell the story of tonight Tonight Have you ever felt like nobody was there? Have you ever felt forgotten in the middle of nowhere? Have you ever felt like you could disappear? Like you could fall, and no one would hear? Well, let that lonely feeling wash away All we see is light 'Cause maybe there's a reason to believe you'll be okay For forever 'Cause when you don't feel strong enough to stand You can reach, reach out your hand And oh Raise a glass to freedom Something they can never take away Oh No matter what they tell you Someone will coming running To take you home Raise a glass to all of us Tomorrow there'll be more of us Telling the story of tonight Out of the shadows The morning is breaking (they'll tell the story of tonight) And all is new All is new All is new It's only a matter of Time Even when the dark comes crashing through When you need a friend to carry you When you're broken on the ground You will be found So let the sun come streaming in 'Cause you'll reach up and you'll rise again If you only look around You will be found And when our children tell their story You will be found They'll tell the story of tonight Whoa No matter what they tell you Tomorrow there'll be more of us Telling the story of tonight The story of tonight