Like many of you, I remember one year ago like it was yesterday, and, yet, it feels like a lifetime ago. I remember talking with my youngest son on the Friday before Spring Break 2020 about schools being closed and “the virus” changing our day and upcoming week’s plans. He flippantly sang R.E.M.’s “It’s the End of the World”, and we started to make decisions as a family about our routines, work, and life. I’m taking a big, deep breath today remembering the people we’ve lost and reflecting on all we’ve been through.
As we conduct interviews for our Legacy Film projects, we focus on drawing out themes of a life. You simply can’t capture a whole life in a video. We see glimpses of a life through personal stories, and we listen deeply for themes that we hear. We try our best to bring these out in each Sacred Stories video production. As we listen for themes of each individual, larger themes for our shared humanity are present too. Throughout this whole year, I’ve heard echoes of these themes speaking to me as I’ve personally reflected and sorted through grief and gratitude. These are some of the themes that play over and over in the interviews I’ve done and year after year throughout the stories of our lives:
“Connections Matter.” We need each other. Our health and well-being are dependent on relationships. Listening and being present with people are what make life meaningful.
“Pain and suffering are part of life.” Part of living and loving is losing and grieving. Where we’ve all lived this year, we have encountered difficult things along the way. Some suffering is seen, and some unseen. A year brings perspective, doesn’t it? A lifetime does too. There are highs and there are lows. There are tough moments and seasons, and there are good times too.
“Giving to others brings healing.” When we give beyond ourselves, there is healing in the big challenges of grief, trauma, and real difficulty and in the small moments of everyday frustration. A woman I interviewed recently started a non-profit in her 70s! She gave to others in a way that transformed her own life – even at 70. It’s so easy to get mesmerized by the large events and issues of our world and the change needed to make an impact, but maybe there’s a lightness in simply looking at the people nearby and asking “Who is someone who needs my love and care today?”
“Naming things is important.” Calling a thing what it is (even if for ourselves and maybe most importantly for ourselves) is a stress-reliever and a powerful opportunity for growth. The folks who name their truths on video (or on paper or to a trusted friend) are able to see themselves and life in a different way.
“Just Keep Going.” Each person that I’ve interviewed on film to date is a reminder to me that no one feeling is final. You and I are complex people, and the folks whose stories I’ve heard are too. No moment or year ultimately defines us. There are lessons and there are pivots, but life goes on. People can choose to adapt and change (or not!), but looking back reveals forward motion.
A lot has changed this year, but let’s remember the themes of our lives that are timeless.
As we mark the one year of this pandemic together and as I mark a milestone in this business, I thank each person reading this who has courageously invited me into the stories of their lives through our legacy film productions and those who have been my friends and partners through life’s different seasons. You are inspiring this work for the future.