Jean Croker Petke



I have two questions for your consideration this week:

What sustains you when the going gets tough?

Where is your calm place in challenging times?

I’m thinking of those times, like the current holiday season, when there’s too much to do and too little time and expectations for a perfect Christmas.

I’m thinking of those times when we get caught off guard by illness, physical limitations, demands for our time and services, and the call to attend to others’ needs.

I’m thinking of those times when you feel nibbled to death by the ducks. I’ve heard life with a toddler likened to such nibbling. Everyone wants a piece of you. You can’t catch your breath or do anything without interruption.

I’m thinking of those times when things are beyond your control. The train has gone off the rails. You feel powerless to regain order and control.

Not long ago a friend was recounting tales of the Titanic as it was sinking. What I remember especially from his telling was that the orchestra continued to play their music.

That’s really what prompted this blog post. I’ve been pondering what we do when the unthinkable happens — the thing we thought could never possibly happen, or the thing we hope will never happen, or the thing we are most afraid of.

What do you do? What do you think you would do?

I think I would sit down at my piano and play. This would not be practicing for my next lesson. I would play music I already know, music that is long familiar to me. Playing piano pushes thoughts and situations aside and transports me into the music itself.

I think I would write words in my journal or on my computer. Unlike earlier times when I only wrote longhand, I rather like writing with my keyboard — because I type nearly as fast as I think. There is little danger of my thoughts and ponderings getting lost while I slowly write by hand. My writing custom is that private words are my honest self. I can write my fears and anger and frustrations and hurts without judgment. My soul can be freed of feelings and thoughts that threaten to pull me under like the Titanic sinking to the ocean floor.

As a sometime painter, I think I would get out my watercolors and brushes and put color to paper. My purpose is not creating a picture, but to let the colors say what I lack the words to express. Let me be the paint flowing onto the paper, forming new colors as I merge with what is already there.

My question for you is what provides sustenance when challenging times arrive in your life? How do you stay in touch with who you are at your core? Where is your reset button in the midst of life-clamoring?

Practice now — when the sailing is smooth. When difficulty comes, it will be readily available to you.

Keep playing your music.

Until next Tuesday . . .


3 Comments - Leave a Comment
  • Carol Bennington -

    A great reminder – to reconnect with what nourishes us during times of chaos! Find it interesting that we most often forget to do when we need it most.

  • Vicky Hatfield -

    My calm place during this season is remembering what it’s all about – Jesus Christ. We’ve cut out most of the gift giving and just get together with loved ones for meals, going to Barter Theatre, coffee and snacks, watching cheesy Christmas movies, and even heavy movies (Passion of the Christ), and going to church as usual. Cutting out the materialism has made such a difference. Merry Christmas!

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