brian j plachta
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How to Reach for the Light in 2021
by brian j plachta on December 27th, 2020



Who would have guessed when the clock struck midnight on January 1, 2020, we were in for the upside down ride of a global pandemic?

Had we known what was coming, we might have jumped back into bed, hid beneath the covers, and whispered, “Wake me up when it’s all over.”

Fast forward. We now stand at the threshold of a new year.

Whether you’ve suffered from COVID, lost loved ones, experienced financial setbacks or endured the 2020 ride with minor scrapes and bruises, we can proclaim together, “We’ve survived.” Our resilient spirits have endured a great trial, and with the grace of God, we now have a vaccine being brought to us at warp speed.

A Pot of Wisdom


Whenever I pulled through a rough time, my Irish mother would ask me to look into my rear view mirror and ponder what I’d learned. Mom said that by looking back over our lives, we can discover what we’re made of—what life has taught us—so we can move forward with greater insight and courage.

“Like a pot of hearty Irish stew,” she said, “when we savor the morsels of meat and potatoes life has served us, we find out who we are. We gain wisdom.”

Spiritual Food for the Journey


In light of Mom’s sage advice, I asked people on social media to share their response to this question: “What wisdom did you learn in 2020?”

Here’s a smattering of what people said:

•To rely on my faith in God even more.
•Money can’t buy health, happiness or love.
•Only God can fully love and protect me. Thank you, God.
•Life is much like an obstacle course race. Sometimes you need a boost from others to get over an obstacle, and you’ll never make progress if you don’t accept help.
•Sometimes you gotta jump in the mud even if it wrecks your shoes. And when you’re tired and out of breath, you gotta put on some good music, keep your willpower up, and push through the pain.
•Love—when we give it a chance—is ready to make all things new.
•Fear melts when I seek calm and silence.
•There’s something good in every situation.
•That in which I place my trust is not a thing.
•I’ve learned not to be judgmental of those around me—walk in another's shoes before I criticize.
•This year, so many people chose God, their families, country, and communities that it gave me hope—and proved love can prevail.
•Control is the grandest of all illusions.
•Looking back is a great idea—unless you’re driving a motor vehicle.  
The Inner Light of Love

As I seek my own answer to the question I posed, I’m reminded of the story of the Siberian Husky, Balto.

In 1925, during an outbreak of the diphtheria pandemic, Balto led a team of Alaskan sled dogs through a blinding blizzard 800 miles from Anchorage to Nome to bring the villagers a vaccine that stopped the spread of the disease. Balto’s courage and determination in the face of deadly odds brought the “good medicine” that saved the villagers’ lives.

In the song, Reach for the Light, Steve Windwood captured Balto’s spirit with these words:

Reach for the light
You might touch the sky
Stand on the mountaintop
And see yourself flying
Reach for the light
To capture a star
Come out of the darkness
And find out who you are

Somewhere in you
There's a power with no name
It can rise to meet the moment
And burn like a flame
And you can be stronger
Than anything you know
Hold on to what you see
Don't let it go
Don't you let it go



Reach for the Light


This year, scientists, business owners, politicians, and health care workers rallied for the common good. Like Balto, they pushed hard, searched for the light, and are now bringing the good medicine we need to put an end to this pandemic.

But “good medicine” is more than a drug, writes Native American Jamie Sams in her book, Medicine Cards. Jamie teaches that good medicine is anything that improves our connection with the Great Mystery and brings healing to the Earth Mother and to all God’s creation.

In other words, good medicine is the healing power of love—the divine light within us. The Creator has placed within our hearts the good medicine of healing love. It’s the “power with no name” Steve Windwood sings about in his song.

Like Balto, we’ve had to dig deep this year, push through the blinding darkness of fear and suffering, and embrace our inner light.  

There we found dwelling within our hearts the healing power of the love that sustains us. As we found that light burning like a flame, we shared it with others so their lights could burn brightly too.

We don’t know what 2021 will bring.

But we do know, we can reach for the Light to find the good medicine of healing love within us.

Through the power of the Holy Spirit, the Light burns in our hearts like a flame. And as we lean into its Divine Love, we rise to meet each moment. We’re stronger than anything we know. We hold onto the Light that shines in the darkness.

Reach for the Light—the Inner Light of Love.

Don’t let it go.




Spiritual Practice

Find a quiet place to sit.  

Click on this link to the song, Reach for the Light.

Listen.

Ponder: What wisdom did you learn in 2020? How will carry that wisdom into 2021?



—brian j plachta
brianplachta.net




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