HEALTH FIRST: ‘The Year of the Giant Reset’ – Moving Forward with Gratitude in 2021
By Health First // December 31, 2020
Health First’s Pastoral Care team includes specially trained chaplains and volunteers
Father Bob Bruckart, Health First’s Director of Pastoral Care, reflects on the lessons of 2020, and how to cultivate the art of appreciation for a truly happy new year.
BREVARD COUNTY, FLORIDA – We’ve been thrust into a different way of life this year – masks everywhere, searching for certain hard-to-find groceries and embracing work-from-home meetings.
But we’ve been through it all together, resetting life’s priorities to appreciate what we value most.
Continuing his positive outlook into a new year, the Rev. Bob Bruckart, Health First’s Director of Pastoral Care, reminds us to remember the blessings and appreciate what is important.
“This year has been the year of the giant reset,” Father Bob said. “It is as if someone tiptoed into the room and, when no one was looking, pressed the reset button on all of life as we knew it.”
Yet this jarring reality check brings opportunity, too.
“There is a positive upside to all of this,” Father Bob explained.
Readjusting your mind to remember what’s important – health, family, faith, love – and what’s not, including binging on computer games and other habits that take away from what’s most valued, has given us a new perspective.
Counting your blessings is a great way to rekindle gratitude, he suggested.
“That means stopping long enough to appreciate the obvious: yet another day of life, blazing sunrises, family and pets that wonderfully love us without condition,” Father Bob said.
“We cultivate the art of appreciation, looking for the good in all that stands before us, even disease. It is a great spiritual exercise to begin and/or end each day remembering all the good that comes to us.”
When talking about empathy, the late Catholic writer Henri Nouwen wrote that the only real language between two individuals is the language of shared experience or shared suffering, Father Bob said.
Knowing someone else can relate to your experiences, whether they’re filled with joy or suffering, is not only affirming but allows people to genuinely connect.
This requires real-time and presence – and is worth every moment of it.
“A chaplain’s work is listening,” Father Bob said. “Just being there without comment can be like throwing a life preserver to a drowning person. Hear with your ears, eyes, heart – all of you.”
Father Bob believes this trying year has restored many Americans’ faith in a higher power.
“I think that 2020 has invited a number of us to return to, and rest our faith in, the Almighty again,” he reflected.
“Having experienced our partial or complete powerlessness, we often rediscover that God Almighty is a very adequate ‘rock’ and ‘fortress’ in time of need (Psalm 18:2). A rock-centered faith, like aspiring hope and generous love, makes the journey forward far more possible.”
Health First’s Pastoral Care team includes specially trained chaplains and volunteers to provide spiritual and emotional support to patients of all religious faiths, including those without specific affiliations.
The team is available for prayer, consultation, counseling, or other spiritual needs of patients, their families, and our staff.
For more information, or to request a Pastoral Care Team visit for a loved one at one of our four hospitals or hospice, visit HF.org/pastoralcare