Editor's Note: Tim Byrne returned to the UUA in early September from medical leave after suffering a brutal attack in downtown New Orleans during 2017 General Assembly. Tim’s healing and recovery is emblematic of the resiliency we all seek during these turbulent times. May you be uplifted by his words.
Fall, in my part of the world, is often a time of transition. Leaves change color, students go back to school (or go for the first time), recent graduates start new jobs (if they’re fortunate). This fall, as it happens, I am returning to work at the UUA after an unexpected assault and period of recovery.
I’m not a religious person or even a “spiritual-but-not-religious” person. I respect the faith traditions of Unitarian Universalism (as I understand them) but they’re not mine. I have no great wisdom to share about how to navigate transitions (even the one I’m navigating now), but I will take a moment to share how mine is going and wish everyone else the best in theirs (whatever they might be).
Mine is a transition I didn’t expect and didn’t really want. I went from an active, somewhat self-sufficient individual to someone who needed care, attention and help from a host of concerned people. Doctors, nurses and therapists. My family. Co-workers, managers, and members of the wider community (UU and not) whom I had never met. Learning to accept help and kindness is a kind of transition, too.
I’ve been fortunate. I was fully employed when this happened, which meant I could count on things like insurance, a paycheck and a network of concerned people. I’m married to a wonderful man, Tom Lee, who rushed out to New Orleans on hearing the news and coordinated my care and tended to my well-being. Being a UUA employee, I also had no less than three kind-hearted ministers by my bedside over the course of my stay at University Medical Center (and untold numbers of UU’s sending good wishes). I am grateful for all of that.
My return to work coincides with the beginning of a new church year and a new UUA presidency. The future is coming whether we’re ready or not. As the new year unfolds I wish for all of you what I’ve been lucky enough to have – the support, encouragement and understanding of those around me as I navigate new and ongoing challenges.