By Susan Walker

By Susan Walker

The voices of our case managers help melt away dischord

Click here to read the entire October 2019 newsletter

“Music… gives wings to the mind and flight to the imagination.” – Plato

I love music! Most genres have a rhyme and a meter. We can subconsciously predict where it’s going and expect it will end on a major, harmonic chord. It’s a positive, uplifting, and sometimes even triumphant conclusion.

I often listen to old school rock and roll, but I am also an eager companion when a friend suggests an evening at the symphony. A few years ago, I attended a performance of Gustav Mahler’s Second Symphony. Most of it is not “happy music” — there are a lot of sad, minor melodic themes. By the fourth movement, I was caught up in the crashing, un-harmonic and almost disturbing chords and wasn’t sure I wanted to hear how it ended. Then, through the chaos of sound came a melody sung by a solo contralto, clear, soaring and beautiful. All the dischord seemed to melt away in the presence of that single voice proclaiming hope and possibility in the midst of despair. It struck me that when Mahler wanted to move listeners from doubt to hope, he chose to use a single human voice.

There’s a parallel here to life itself. Life often has a rhyme and a meter. And, if we do certain things (perform well in school, get a job), we can predict where it’s going to go next. However, as life unfolds, we realize unexpected twists and turns occur and life doesn’t always go as planned. This is poignantly true for the men and women who come to Catholic Charities of Kansas City-St. Joseph for assistance. Job loss, fractured families, and health issues, including substance abuse and depression, have tossed them around. One barrier has led to another, leaving them stranded in a crisis with no identifiable way out.

Then they call or come to Catholic Charities and meet Claudia, Heather, Brent, or any one of our colleagues. Our specialists and social workers provide immediate relief (food, rent, utility assistance, etc.) and then give direction, cutting through the dissonance of their life, helping them find solid ground again. Like the voice of the singer piercing the darkness in Mahler’s Symphony, the voices of our case managers help melt away the dischord, providing a sense of hope – as only a human voice can do.

With your donation, you help make these encounters with a caring, knowledgeable person possible, ensuring our vulnerable neighbors can rise above the chaos and modulate the music of their lives from a minor to a major key.

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