Stages of life and our profession
  • melofluentmelofluent
    Posts: 4,160
    I've often cited the Piaget Curve principles of human development as very influential upon our modes of behavior as we mature through life. But, in revisiting these concepts, I remembered that Eric Ericson (sp?) also had a sort of taxonomy about the processes of maturation. These are three summations of the last three stages of adulthood:
    *Young adults need to form intimate, loving relationships with other people. Success leads to strong relationships, while failure results in loneliness and isolation.
    *Adults need to create or nurture things that will outlast them, often by having children or creating a positive change that benefits other people. Success leads to feelings of usefulness and accomplishment, while failure results in shallow involvement in the world.
    *Older adults need to look back on life and feel a sense of fulfillment. Success at this stage leads to feelings of wisdom, while failure results in regret, bitterness, and despair.

    Of course, those are rudimentary. But I wonder if they provide some perspective from which we all can benefit by factoring them into how we relate to one another here and in cyberforums, and of course, in real life, particularly when we "minister" to our fellows in faith?

    Thanked by 2expeditus1 francis
  • expeditus1
    Posts: 483
    melo, the memory of those 8 psychosocial stages which Erikson proposed, are what have stuck with me more than anything else from my psych. coursework. Numbers 7 & 8 were the ones that really hit me back then: Generativity vs. Stagnation (#7), and Integrity vs. Despair (#8). My repetitive prayer to God is that I don't end up stagnant and embittered.

    Psychosocial Stage 8 - Integrity vs. Despair
    •This phase occurs during old age and is focused on reflecting back on life.

    •Those who are unsuccessful during this stage will feel that their life has been wasted and will experience many regrets. The individual will be left with feelings of bitterness and despair.

    •Those who feel proud of their accomplishments will feel a sense of integrity. Successfully completing this phase means looking back with few regrets and a general feeling of satisfaction. These individuals will attain wisdom, even when confronting death.
  • Adam WoodAdam Wood
    Posts: 6,307
    *Young adults need to form intimate, loving relationships with other people. Success leads to strong relationships, while failure results in loneliness and isolation.
    *Adults need to create or nurture things that will outlast them, often by having children or creating a positive change that benefits other people. Success leads to feelings of usefulness and accomplishment, while failure results in shallow involvement in the world.


    This seems true, and I (apparently) have transitioned from "Young Adult" to "Adult."
    Hmmm...

    I don't know what it has to do (you know - in particular) with what we do as musicians. But I suspect there is something profound to glean from it.
  • "Lead me to the rock that is higher than I." I would rather be with St Sisoes on my deathbed, than desire integrity and freedom from regret.
  • Kathy
    Posts: 5,054
    I'm not sure if this is on point or not. Feel free to bump it off the thread, if not.
    Thanked by 2expeditus1 francis
  • Adam WoodAdam Wood
    Posts: 6,307
    I don't know if it is on point or not, but it is a very good point in itself.
  • Kathy
    Posts: 5,054
    Why thank you.

    I've been teaching about the Carmelite Doctors this summer, and I've been making the point about how prayer changes over time.

    I've always wondered whether this is the biggest distinction between the experience of the pre- and post-conciliar liturgies: whether they're geared towards contemplation or not.
  • Kathy
    Posts: 5,054
    Haha, I've just put that in rather nostalgic terms...
    Thanked by 1Adam Wood
  • Adam WoodAdam Wood
    Posts: 6,307
    I've often thought that (certain flavors of) nostalgia (as conventionally understood) is sort of a poor/cheap version of anamnesis.

    Like those who confuse lust with love, and so continually pursue the thing they do not actually crave, many seek nostalgia in the liturgy because their souls are craving a true remembrance.
  • Kathy
    Posts: 5,054
    Anamnesis is an efficacious remembering, but of what?

    --If, the works of God, it's religious and efficacious of grace. God brought us out of Egypt, so He will help us now. Some version of this kind of expression of hope (God has helped us before and He will again) is normative for the introits and collects of the Mass.

    --If, this song used to give me that lovin' feeling, not so good.
  • Adam WoodAdam Wood
    Posts: 6,307
    I can't tell if you are taking issue or expanding on what I said. Since I don't think we disagree, I assume any issue you might be taking is based on my being not clear.

    Our souls long for God. Part of that longing is a desire for precisely what the liturgy offers: an anamnetic experience that makes present the whole of salvation history.

    Many people, lacking both the language to talk about what they long for, and also lacking any experience with it in reality, mistake what it is they long for, and seek out lesser things.

    Longing for a true Memorial of Christ's Passion, but unaware that this is the source of their longing, they chase after liturgical nostalgia. They have, quite correctly, a heart for the past, but can see no further back than their own childhood.
  • melofluentmelofluent
    Posts: 4,160
    Homer to Marge Simpson: "Didn't we used to make out to this hymn."

    You actually tapped into the mother lode vein of my perspective, Kathleen, if you were advancing the mitigating and true power of prayer and contemplation and their effect upon these transformational life periods. And Adam's wise observation that we ought to take stock of our longing for God (Pss. 42 and 63 come to mind) should keep us vigilant well into the 8th stage and to not dwell in mere recollection, but that true anamnesis of salvation history and future.
    In addition to your post on "Wait for it, it's coming" we can add that in the meantime there are some who, for their part, have not allowed stasis to embed itself into their life's trajectory. Oh, and the Four Last Things are comin' back in a big way!
    Thanked by 2Kathy Jeffrey Tucker
  • Kathy
    Posts: 5,054
    Exactly. We're agreeing and thinking together.
  • Adam WoodAdam Wood
    Posts: 6,307
    Regarding this:
    Adults need to create or nurture things that will outlast them, often by having children

    and my recent familial expansion, I often think on the following (which, I have stated publicly, I want on my tombstone).

    To him alone all who sleep in the earth bow down in worship;
    all who go down to the dust fall before him.

    My soul shall live for him;
    my descendants shall serve him;
    they shall be known as the LORD'S for ever.

    They shall come and make known to a people yet unborn
    the saving deeds that he has done.
  • Liam
    Posts: 3,804
    As I age (52 years, lots of experience with dryness and dark nights that would go on for years in the past), and observe my parents at the threshhold of 90, I don't think the pattern of prayer develops linearly: that is, from expressive to impressive/contemplative. Too Hegelian for my taste, tempting as it is to make neater distinctions.

    It's just that we have more ways to be aware of the impressive/contemplative dimension, because of the natural building of experience. Yet, as contemplative as one can be, one can still flood God with a torrent of expressive prayer, and that's not in any way to be considered a lesser thing. I only need to observe my mother struggle like Sisyphus (physically and mentally, but not spiritually) with her beads for an hour.

    I used to consider myself about the least contemplative Christian on the planet due to my neurological busy-ness (starting with synaesthesia), but I had a Damascene realization hit me with force when my spiritual director, seeing this from another perspective, showed me how immensely contemplative I in fact was - I was almost completely open to finding God in my myriad "distractions". From this I also learned it doesn't help to self-judge our contemplation or lack thereof; that's a lovely temptation that's *not* from God....

  • These thoughts have cut me to the quick today, in a good way. In the space of less than a month, I turned 40 and underwent a (medically necessary) surgery that closed the door to having any more biological children. Talk about changes.

    I am a social bird. So, while I am acquainted with and enjoy the company of lots and lots of folks, I am moreover blessed with Christian friendship in such a way as to render me wealthy far beyond my deserving. In sadder moments, reflecting on dear friends has remained a calm and steady joy, almost a life preserver. In happy times, wine and joy bobble about together. Deo gratias!

    I got a late start, but am glad these friendships were, by the grace of God, accomplished throughout young adulthood. Such friendships continue to form, to deepen, to "melo". Deo gratias!

    Now that I've cherry-bombed into undeniable adulthood, I see how these stages affect my work as a sacred musician. For several years I have spun our Catholic songs into the ears of children, praying the prayers might connect in minds that love God and nestle warmly into hearts that love God. Now these souls are of an age where I witness them sing skillfully to God from their minds and hearts, and with all their strength. And that is an accomplishment I didn't expect to ever know or delight in so much. Deo gratias!

    What, and who, and how will we leave from our daily sweat poured into our apostolates? I reflect on this a lot.


  • Erickson's stages certainly spell out the lives of most people. I'm not quite in the "integrity vs. despair" stage, but am rather quickly inching towards it. But, the question should be not whether we can qualify our lives in terms of success or stagnation, but rather in how we've been about to approach the journeys we've all been given. While I may feel less than adequate at times as a musician, DOM, or in other areas of my life, that takes secondary place to my faith journey, which is at times stagnated, especially when it feels as though the well has run dry. If we can take our choirs, no matter what the size, and influence one or two people into making their journeys somewhat easier, that we've reached integrity and should rally in that thought.
  • Adam WoodAdam Wood
    Posts: 6,307
    Many secular people, when they think of their "legacy," seem to be worried primarily about what people will say about them after they are gone. The progressive-(post)-Christian version of this is to recast "the afterlife" in terms of how we live-on in the stories people tell about us.

    Then, of course, there is a fundamentalist Protestant/Puritan worry about what our eternal fate will be- punishment or reward.

    I am not so much concerned with either of these things, as I know that human memory is fleeting and that God's mercy is lasting. Though it sounds overly-individualistic (I think it is not, at heart), I have more and more realized that the judgment I worry about is whether, at the end of my life, I can say in honesty:

    I have fought the good fight, I have finished the race, I have kept the faith.
    Thanked by 2ryand CHGiffen
  • Kathy
    Posts: 5,054
    When I think of my legacy, I want people to have mo betta theological hope.

    Which is fostered in part by mo betta hymns.

    Which is where I come in.
  • Mo betta hymns
    I want that and I'd buy it!
  • ryandryand
    Posts: 1,576
    Sounds like a working title for a new hymnal from CMAA...
    Thanked by 1CHGiffen
  • I wouldn't buy it.
    I might buy a projected St Dunstan's Hymnal: all the best, minimal tune repeats, no dross, absolutely none (and that goes for any even slightly schmaltzty Marian or saints' hymns-songs. Settings of the mass would be at least as good as the Willan, plus plainchant masses in English and Latin. A companion volume would be An English Gradual containing all the texts of the Graduale Triplex in English and set to music somewhat more erudite and musically developed than the SEP and should include a three year cycle of responsorial psalms and Alleluya & verses. In other words: a COMPLETE English Graduale for the Church in America. The books, and each item of their contents, should be an impeccable work of musical and literary art.
  • Kathy mentioned a hymnal. Her work translating the office hymns has been laudable, to say the least. The small percentage of us English speaking Catholics would be blessed with such rich texts.

    We have a fabulous Graduale, the Graduale Romanum. Has no dross in the least BUT ("jazz hands") does contain the best of the best, melodies wed to Latin texts, crafted over hundreds of years, sung by Catholic scholae in many lands and ages.
    Bonus: they happened to be the very same prayers we've been tasked with restoring.

    I'll buy that, too! (It would be nice if it were a little cheaper.)
  • Kathy
    Posts: 5,054
    Jackson, who is publishing the St Dunstan Hymnal? Sounds intriguing?
  • melofluentmelofluent
    Posts: 4,160
    I wouldn't buy it.

    Hijacked Thread Alert.
  • Melo, guilty of jumping on the train. My bad.

    Back to original programming, as it were, your post got me thinking of particular good folks I know who did make friendships in young adulthood, then converted to Catholicism as older young adults. I'd put the number of close friends at 4, wider circle of friends at about 12.

    The pattern for this group was very similar. They made friends, but the relationships were all formed around self-destructive forms of partying and/or things we leave behind as Christians. In some cases, their entire circle of friends were living the homosexual lifestyle.

    When the new Christians revealed their new found religion to party/lifestyle circle of friends, they wanted nothing to do with the new converts. And they found they weren't interested in the partying, or whatever. Their former relationships dissolved. Some had family that rejoiced over their conversion, others had no support from family, and very little way to make friends.

    So they were 25-40 and basically friendless. Many found a difficult time forging new friendships, and have expressed the toll of lonliness and isolation.

    I bring this up because, as I reflect, almost all of these 12 or so people are or were church musicians, and share in our faith as well as our profession. They have all the usual struggles and drama of a church musician, with the added social/ psychological pressures of needing to find new friends while not wanting to reveal too much about their former lives. My heart goes out to these friends in this situation. And I've been around long enough to see some succeed, some continue to struggle pretty hard, and others simply leave the faith.

    I'm pretty sure I'm not alone in observing this problem.

    My question-
    What are some ways church musicians with strong friendships find and reach out others who are coming into the community, or have been in the community and fight lonliness?

    Hmmmmm
    Guess it's time for me to start that local CMAA chapter I've been dreaming about for years. :)

    Thanked by 2expeditus1 CHGiffen
  • Adam WoodAdam Wood
    Posts: 6,307
    meetup.com
    Thanked by 1DougS
  • CharlesW
    Posts: 10,085
    I have found many good people of faith in the local AGO chapter. They are not all Catholic, by a long shot, but still good people.
  • expeditus1
    Posts: 483
    MaryAnn, you must have lifted some pages from my diary, because it sure describes my journey. At the risk of revealing too much about myself....let's resume the story where I had left off, on another thread, at the point where I was ineptly picking my guitar in the sanctuary. The blossoming of the "new springtime" within the Church, coinciding as it did with my own pre-adolescence, made for an unholy alliance. I hurriedly swapped my pearl of great worth for some gaudy plastic baubles. My big fat adventure ultimately led to my "laboring as a technician at the hog farm." Seventeen years, evaporated.

    Then one day, an interior urging led me to wander into St. Charles Borromeo church in North Hollywood.....the home of Paul Salamunovich (totally oblivious as to who the guy was). Assuming a pew in the back of the church where the unworthy ones sit, my steely heart was ravaged and ravished by the choir, under his direction. I have not a clue as to who in the loft was Catholic or non-Catholic, but that choir was absolutely instrumental in wounding my heart, and eliciting so very many tears over a squandered life.

    It was a violent spiritual rebirth, and when I awoke, my illusory friendships had evaporated. That is an extremely vulnerable stage. Until the end of my life, I will be grateful to a spiritual mother who dropped out of the air, and drew me into her own Catholic friendships. Just as one example, receiving an invitation to a home Christmas party where Catholic musicians were gathered, meant so much to me. Without this woman's expediting the whole "find your Catholic friend" business, I might still be hitting up Adam's meetup.com mentioned above.
    Thanked by 1JulieColl
  • What a story, expeditus 1! Glad you put away the swine tech's apron and reclaimed your baptismal garment. Most of us have spent time on that farm. :)

    Thanks for the reminder about personal invitations.
    I do think there are helpful Internet resources, though I also treasure the face to face encounters. Trying to word that right...

    Are you still in LA area? I'm in SD, fyi.
  • expeditus1
    Posts: 483
    No, MaryAnn, as so many prodigals do, I returned to my birth home, WI.
  • melofluentmelofluent
    Posts: 4,160
    e1,
    When I conceived of this thread I was consciously trying to sort out how one generation of stalwarts, notably Maestro's Salamunovich, Wagner (his mentor), Mahrt, Schuler, Skeris, Marier, Berry and Ward et al, somehow resolutely did not yield to the prevailing powers of iconoclasts? I spoke with Paul at a couple of California retreats about that, and his story was remarkably alike that of Mahrt's, a sort of quiet confidence and sure-footed ability to sidestep clerical shenanigans. But, in the end didn't it have to come down to "It was beauty that killed the beast."? What you heard at St. CB's that morning was not significantly different than what Wagner led in the 50's. Personal piety wed to the finest art had to be like seals on these great hearts.
    The rest of us had to go through some sort of curve from '70 onward, and some got stuck while others kept looking for the grail, even tho' it was right in front of us the whole time.
    I don't think all that much about legacies anymore. I've always known that the language of love between God and man, for me, was to be found in music. And the hubris of my youth and even adulthood informed me that "thicker music" was deeper love. I had no concept of how wrong I was, the only thick thing was my head. Fatuous.
    It is enough that I've been graced to be able to include chant into the Sunday experience of Mass, and to enjoy the unity and precision of it if only singing with my wife.
    Regarding the curve and stages of our younger compatriots, I hope they can restore the confidence of all towards our heritage, but do so after laying their swords and shields down by the riverside. The terms Liturgy Wars/Music Wars need to be retired.
    Thanked by 1expeditus1
  • CHGiffenCHGiffen
    Posts: 4,145
    I returned to my birth home, WI

    expeditus1 ... I returned to WI in 2004 and am still here.
  • expeditus1
    Posts: 483
    CHGiffen, should I worry about you if you decide to leave WI and go on a big fat adventure?
  • Regarding legacy, and speaking of Mahrt, for whom I hold great respect and affection, he gave me one of those pearls of soft-spoken wisdom at the Colloqium this year.

    I found his reflection to contain a lovely perspective. It certainly can assist in our dreams and pursuit of detachment in our apostolic works.

    After a class, he and I were talking about the young people from my choir who had come to Colloquium, and what they might do for the Church in their long years ahead. He bent down with a twinkle in his eye (must be some Irish there, somehow!) and said to me,


    "Our job is that of the cathedral builders. We will not live to see it finished."
    Thanked by 1expeditus1
  • CHGiffenCHGiffen
    Posts: 4,145
    should I worry about you if you decide to leave WI and go on a big fat adventure?

    You probably should, since that is highly unlikely at my age. Trips away from my home in western WI have been pretty much limited. What few adventures we had amount to excursions mostly made for family oriented visits and events ... so far to such widely dispersed places as Dayton, OH (with side trip to Cincy), Raleigh, NC (for the joyous wedding of our fifth child), Albany, OR (via Seattle, WA), and Yuma, AZ (with visits to nieces in Mesa and sightseeing at the Grand Canyon and Petrified Forest en route), as well as a family reunion three years ago that was held at a state park in Indiana. The one thing we have done for ourselves ... aside from annual fall and spring day drives down the Mississippi river to Wabasha, MN to see fall color and spring migration of bald eagles and other birds, including pelicans ... is to make the rare trip of a few days to Duluth, MN and the north shore of Lake Superior. The trip to Albany and Seattle was about a week long, and the trip to Yuma at the beginning of this year lasted almost two weeks. The others were for a few days each, at most, typically on a weekend.
    Thanked by 1expeditus1
  • francisfrancis
    Posts: 8,288
    9 23 And he said to all: If any man will come after me, let him deny himself and take up his cross daily and follow me. dicebat autem ad omnes si quis vult post me venire abneget se ipsum et tollat crucem suam cotidie et sequatur me
    9 24 For whosoever will save his life shall lose it: for he that shall lose his life for my sake shall save it. qui enim voluerit animam suam salvam facere perdet illam nam qui perdiderit animam suam propter me salvam faciet illam
    9 25 For what is a man advantaged, if he gain the whole world and lose himself and cast away himself? quid enim proficit homo si lucretur universum mundum se autem ipsum perdat et detrimentum sui faciat
    9 26 For he that shall be ashamed of me and of my words, of him the Son of man shall be ashamed, when he shall come in his majesty and that of his Father and of the holy angels. nam qui me erubuerit et meos sermones hunc Filius hominis erubescet cum venerit in maiestate sua et Patris et sanctorum angelorum
  • Kathy
    Posts: 5,054
    Shouldn't the Latin go first? It's supposed to have primacy of place, after all, Francis. ;)
    Thanked by 2francis CHGiffen
  • Kathy
    Posts: 5,054
    kath hmeron--every day. every day. every day.
  • Mark HuseyMark Husey
    Posts: 186
    In some cases, their entire circle of friends were living the homosexual lifestyle.


    I can't let this pass. I'm not going to hijack the thread but, really. Really?

    This has otherwise been a most thought-provoking and soul-searching thread; for my own journey, trying to balance professional development (which means changing cities to stay afloat) and relationships (which have not produced children which would have to be uprooted and replanted). This has actually been my introduction to Erikson's stages of development, which has given me ample time for prayer and reflection. That's always a good thing. Such a balancing act, this life.
  • Kathy
    Posts: 5,054
    "really. Really?"
    Not sure what the objection is.
    I thought Mary Ann was recounting things she had seen firsthand.
  • Mark HuseyMark Husey
    Posts: 186
    I thought Mary Ann was recounting things she had seen firsthand.


    REALLY?
    Thanked by 1Gavin
  • Kathy
    Posts: 5,054
    Haha, poor choice of words. But I think you know what I mean. She is talking about people she knows.
  • Mark HuseyMark Husey
    Posts: 186
    image
  • Yup, that's the life experience that has been told to me, several times. Someone gets into a subculture, makes friendships exclusively within that subculture, then converts to Catholicism and has to start making friendships from nothing.
    Not sure what the objection is, either.
  • CharlesW
    Posts: 10,085
    MACW, this happen in music rather often, if you view music as a subculture. Against the larger culture, it does function as one. I have to make an effort to get out of the AGO and the athletics cultures I have been part of for years, and be with people not related to either area.
  • I get that, Charles, and agree about getting out of the bubble from time to time, whatever it is. I think it's fun and interesting to have lots of kinds of friends.

    The snippet Mark referenced was specifically about one subculture that centers around the homosexual lifestyle, and how in the experience of my friends, as they told their stories, it didn't mix with their conversion to Chritianity. I will also say that in four cases I witnessed the rejection from former friends that they went through firsthand.
  • CharlesW
    Posts: 10,085
    Prayers for all of them, since they have difficult battles I wouldn't wish on anyone. I got that, I am just making the point that it extends to other areas or "bubbles," too.
  • Yup, agreed
  • Mark HuseyMark Husey
    Posts: 186
    Self-destruction takes many forms, not the least of which is self-righteousness.
    Thanked by 2Gavin CHGiffen