Healing Pilgrimage

We are living in a time when
everyone’s skin in showing —
the world needs a lot of healing

We need to find a way forward
that doesn’t fan the flame
but instead heals the burn

We can’t look to the experts
when everything is uncertain
except conjuncture, discomfort

It’s time to take a pilgrimage
not on our own, but as a whole
not to control, but to trust

To bring stability to our days
to find a balm for the pain
to grieve our way into goodness

Notes from the interview that inspired this poem:

“It feels like whiplash,” she said. “It’s remarkable how resilient you have to be because you can’t predict what’s coming.” This person had undergone significant changes over the past year. As a woman leader in healthcare, she’d accepted a new job in an academic setting (having spent most of her career in a clinical setting), moved to a new city, and became an empty-nester, all amidst COVID. “As doctors, we’re used to being prepared to give our expert opinions,” she said. “The past year has disarmed us. The only thing I’m an expert on right now is me.” She told me about her new puppy, who had been the bright spot in her year of transition and uncertainty. She wanted the poem to point to a bright spot for the world–the hope and healing on the other side of struggle and grieving.

Interviewee: Anonymous, Physician
Listener Poet: Jenny Hegland

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