Living Arts Weekly: Fortitude

March 22, 2020

Patience and fortitude conquer all things. – Ralph Waldo Emerson

Those of you who practice a Christian faith tradition probably recognize this painting depicting the story in which Jesus and his disciples go out in a boat and there is a severe storm.  Jesus remains calm, even takes a nap, while the boat is tossed violently in the water. His disciples wake him and say, “Don’t you care if we drown?!”  He puts out his hand and orders the wind to stop. The waves calm down and all is peaceful again. Then he asks them, “Why are you so afraid? Have you still no faith?”

This past couple of weeks have felt this way.  We were humming along making our plans and living our lives.  Then all of a sudden our world went topsy-turvy, with daily life looking very different than it did even a week or two ago.  Whether or not you follow a Christian path, you can probably resonate with the above image.  LifeWays Early Childhood Training student Alicia Collins (owner of Rootstock Play Garden in Montclair, New Jersey) shared these thoughts about the famous painting this week:

“I’ve always liked this painting by Rembrandt, “Storm on the Sea of Galilee”. It’s a fascinating study in how we meet challenges.  Some of the sailors are reacting to the sudden storm with valiant action, fighting to douse the sails so that the boat doesn’t capsize. Some of them sit passively, perhaps hopelessly. One guy is throwing up over the side; I’ve certainly been him! Others are yelling at Jesus, because he doesn’t seem concerned by these grave conditions. One of them isn’t even holding on, because he’s gesticulating. One hand for yourself, one hand for the ship, sir! Jesus all but rolls his eyes.

“But my favorite person has always been the skipper, the man in the very rear of the boat wrestling with the tiller. He’s got his eyes focused on that incoming wave, his jaw is set, and he’s showing up in this moment, holding that rudder straight and true.

“In the story, Jesus quells the storm momentarily. But if He didn’t happen to be on board that day, it would’ve been the skipper’s wits that would make or break them all. And looking at him, I feel like at least they’ve got a person with sense driving. I try to be like him in difficult moments, especially when children are watching. And I try to remember that Divine Intelligence is always nearby.

“So, in response to COVID-19, Rootstock will be closed for the next two weeks, and our household will be self-distancing. We’ll be ‘remote learning’; we’ll be doing projects; we’ll be gardening and baking; and we’ll be sending love out to our fellow human beings all over the world, as we challenge and overcome this virus. We’re all in this crazy storm together, and storms always pass. And after we’ve gone through them, we’re stronger and wiser than we were before.”


Many of you are working from home and homeschooling your children for the first time.  Be gentle with yourself.  Consider this a time for strengthening your family.  What is one value you would love to share with your children that you may not have had enough time in the past to really bring to life? Now’s your chance!

Below is a video of LifeWays Early Childhood Training student Kelly Sweet and her family doing their morning prayers.

Morning prayer from LifeWays North America on Vimeo.

In what ways is your family growing more connected during this time?

What family value do you have more time to deepen and honor?