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I have a new favorite word: recrudescence.
In the middle of a book I’m reading, right there in the middle of the sentence, in the middle of a paragraph, was that word.
When I was a child and was reading a book and came across a word I didn’t know, I would yell to Mom “What does this mean?” She would always say the same thing: look it up. This being the first time I ever came across that word, recrudescence, and remembering what my mom drilled into me as a child – I looked it up.
Of course, that’s a lot easier now. I didn’t have to go look for wherever one of my six siblings had left the dictionary and the riffle through it looking for the word I wanted to learn. I just pulled out my cell phone and typed it into Google.
I half expected that Google would send back a message saying “That ain’t no word.” But, sure enough, there it was. It’s a word.
And it means…, wait for it…,
….it means “the reoccurrence of an undesirable condition.
I would describe what the world has been living through for the last 30 months as an undesirable condition. And that, my friends, is the understatement of the decade.
We have all been recrudescing together as a human community since March of 2020 – and it hasn’t exactly been a picnic, now, has it? We have been enduring day after day, week after week, month after month, year after year an interminable undesirable condition that has us all admitting that whatever we once knew as normal life isn’t likely to ever come back.
Shakespeare once wrote, “Now is the winter of our recrudescence made glorious summer…” I may have taken a bit of liberty there. Point is Shakespeare used the image of summer’s return after a long winter of discontent as a way of saying hope is coming; the rays of sunshine will displace the gloomy night of a long winter.
Well, Shakespeare, we are in our third summer of discontent and we are still recrudescing – still enduring the slings and arrows of outrageous fortune and waiting for summer or fall or spring or whatever to make glorious again a life we once knew.
The Psalmist summed this up for us all with these words: “How long, O Lord, how long?”
That about sums it up, doesn’t it?
Just how long will be our winter of discontent, our season of recrudescence? How much more of this can we endure? Every time we think we have hit a breakthrough, every time we discover a way to mitigate the threat that is COVID, it morphs and evolves and finds a new way to, how did we define it – extend the reoccurrence of our undesirable condition.
Well, to quote the Psalmist a second time, “yeah, though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I fear no evil for you are at my side; your rod and your staff, they comfort me.”
And that is where I will close this reflection. For I have noticed that through this collective recrudescing we have all been doing together I have felt the hand of God. I have indeed walked through the shadowed valleys, but have not wanted for the comfort that comes from the abiding spirit of the living God. We do not grieve as though who have no hope, and our hope is in the one who made heaven and Earth. So, for as long as this be our winter of discontent let us find our strength in the one who walks with us in the shadows on this, our journey Into the Mystic.