For 2020, my word of the year was journey, and I thought of it mainly in terms of my journey more deeply into the writing life. I was about to complete my first year as resident author with a liturgical worship community, and looking forward to developing further partnerships with other churches where I might speak on a regular basis throughout the year. I had plans to produce another ebook to be distributed through my blog, and to work with a traditional publisher on a new book project.
For all of my plans, I was also open to discovering new things on my journey. I wrote that for me, journeying meant receiving each day as a gift, learning along the way, and being surprised by God.
At the time, none of us knew that the year’s journey for all of us would include the novel coronavirus that would become a global pandemic with millions of cases around the world and over two million deaths. The health crisis soon became a political, economic, and social crisis with widespread shut downs and stay-at-home orders, massive unemployment, increasing political polarization and racial tensions, and so much more.
We were all taken by surprise last year, and not in a happy way. The learning curve was steep as we were met with new challenges. In spite of the optimism of some that we’d make it through the pandemic together, not all of us made it as many lives were lost along the way, and the death toll remains high especially in particular hot spots around the world.
As if all of that weren’t enough, my husband’s health crisis last fall set us on a personal journey that included a sudden trip to the emergency room, followed by a six-week hospital stay, followed by just three weeks’ recovery at home before beginning treatment for the cancer that the doctors determined to be at the root of his health issues. This has been—and is—a hard journey, but we are grateful for good medical care, that he is able to be at home and receive treatment as an outpatient, that we are attended by God’s daily mercies and the positive thoughts and prayers of many. Truly each day we have is a gift.
As this more personal journey continues for us, as the coronavirus pandemic and its global impact continues for all of us, the word that keeps coming up for me for this year is “healing”: healing for my husband, healing for myself, healing for all those suffering from illness, injustice, and other trauma. I long for healing. It seems to me that the world cries out for healing.
As I’ve been pondering healing as my one word for 2021, I learned that the Godspace Writers Community that I belong to will focus on Time to Heal as our theme for the next few months. I appreciate this litany of healing written by Godspace Founder Christine Sine that ends this way:
God of health,
God of wholeness,
God of love,
Heal our bodies,
Heal our souls,
Heal our spirits,
Heal our world.
Go into the world knowing you are touched by the God who heals.
May your life shine with the holiness of God.
Let your heart be transformed by the peace of Christ.
Let your ways be filled with the joy of the Spirit.
May it be so.
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Maybe if we celebrate grace under duress rather than the illusion of total victory we will be less surprised and more prepared when illness and evil lurch into our lives, as they always will; and maybe we will be a braver and better people if we know we cannot obliterate such things, but only wield oceans of humor and patience and creativity against them.
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I don’t know what the future will bring, but then, I have never known that, even if I pretended that I did. I’m not sure if I’ll always be capable of finding the peace I’ve found at this point. For now, my work is to receive whatever each day brings. My limited self and the limitless God come together to empower me to walk a path I never expected to walk and to walk it most days with gratitude.
Writing/Reflection Prompt: Where do you long for healing?
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