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Word of the Year: permacrisis

The word of the year for 2022 has won out over several other bleak terms, “permacrisis.” Obviously the words permanent and crisis have been blended to express how many people have felt over the last year or two, that we are all continually bracing for the next crisis.

I have experienced my fair share of foreboding the last few years, but I have learned to look at the term crisis in a new way. Storytellers know that proper stories have their moment of “crisis,” and without that moment, a story really isn’t that satisfying. It’s the same with our lives, as much as we might like to avoid challenges. Because after the crisis point of the story comes the resolution.

A German sense of the word crisis, Torschlusspanik, means “literally ‘shut-door-panic,’ fear of being on the wrong side of a closing gate.” While the sense of fear and panic are not inspiring, I really like that sense of a closing gate, or turning point. Every moment we have the opportunity to decide which side of the “gate” we’re going to be on. It doesn’t need to be panic or fear-inducing, it can be invigorating!

One of my favorite Christian Science hymns musically asserts,

“Oft to every man and nation

Comes the moment to decide,

In the strife of Truth with falsehood,

For the good or evil side.”

(Hymn. 258:1 (to 1st .))

Now is the time

Mary Baker Eddy, the discoverer of Christian Science—the laws or divine Science of Christ Jesus’ works and teachings—quotes St. Paul and elucidates his meaning, “‘Now,’ cried the apostle, ‘is the accepted time; behold, now is the day of salvation,’ — meaning, not that now men must prepare for a future-world salvation, or safety, but that now is the time in which to experience that salvation in spirit and in life. Now is the time for so-called material pains and material pleasures to pass away, for both are unreal, because impossible in Science. To break this earthly spell, mortals must get the true idea and divine Principle of all that really exists and governs the universe harmoniously. This thought is apprehended slowly, and the interval before its attainment is attended with doubts and defeats as well as triumphs.” (Science and Health with Key to the Scriptures, 39:18)

The permacrisis of our lives need not be “a series of catastrophic events” but can be the moment-by-moment opportunity to decide “for the good side,” or for our inevitable salvation. I find it encouraging that we do have a fresh choice in every instance, even if the gate is slamming closed.

Which side will you be on?


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