Healing at Home

“Do you want the good news or the bad news?,” Husband asks yesterday as he comes through the door.

I’m still in bed with an injury that has cooped me up for the last two days, so I struggle to figure out what could possibly be worse than that. I tune out the bad news as a result.

“… and the good news is that this came just in time!”

He walks into our room, hands full with a leashed Salem, some paper envelopes and my monthly dose of home, Our State magazine. If I’d been able, I might have jumped up and snatched it right from his hands out of pure excitement. But I’m not able, at least not right now. Sure, this injury steals my pride, but at least it preserves my manners – however forcibly.

He’s right, of course. Being stuck in this room, and in essentially the same position, for the last few days has been… less than pleasant. And, even when that’s not the case, my mood invariably improves when Our State arrives each month. It always seems to get here “just in time.” Today I just feel it more.

It’s the mountain issue. Praise be. I love the mountains, this magazine and North Carolina. Why isn’t it possible to jump into their pictures and stories like my name is Mary Poppins? I can smell the cider doughnuts. I can feel the cool breeze of Pilot Mountain. I am transported.

It then occurs to me that I’ve spent a year with Our State. With its reports on our people, our history, our culture, our food (oh God, the food!), our geography, our very selves. It’s true, this is a community built on one thing – “Celebrating North Carolina.”

All of these bits, cover to cover for the past twelve months, pull me closer to the person I am, to the person I was and will always be. For that I’m so grateful. Because, as I’ve mentioned, it can be hard to be myself away from home – and anywhere else for that matter.

Reading each glossy page of Our State is not just a connection to my home state, it’s a connection to my family and myself. I read the recipes and think of my sisters. I read those on community and service and think of my parents, unbounding in their support and tireless dedication to what they believe is right. And most of the time, I am happy.

But I also read this issue and worry. I worry about our people, I worry about our state. If you’ve been following the news, you know why – in the past year, the state that raised me has been in the news for some disturbing reasons as well. Sometimes, I am glad I’m not there, that I have some distance between me and that hurt. And others, while I lay here with an injury of my own, I seem to hurt more knowing I am so far away.

Myself and my home, we are both dealing with injuries from hell. I can be well again, in time, if I go to a doctor and follow instructions. But what of the rest? What can be done to heal that? I turn each page, furiously searching for answers. I call Husband into the room, asking too many questions about the future and what’s to come of us all. We recognize that part of this fixation is cabin fever … but also that it’s not.

Since I’m (restively) resting, Husband leaves to go shop for our groceries (he’s so great, have I mentioned that?). I finish the magazine, full of discontent over the lack of solutions. Of course I know they can’t be found in the magazine. I know it’s about the people. That, just like me, healing must start with the will to change.

I close my connection to home and look again upon the front cover. Its image and its message both simple – an outstretched hand offers an apple, and with it the chance to heal. “Here,” it says, “together, we will be well.”

May God be with Charlotte,

Ryan Vale McGonigle

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