Publisher’s Point: Redemptive Resiliency

By: Ali Elizabeth Turner

In the nearly 12 years that we have owned Athens Now, I have marveled several times at how without conferring with each other, the writers for this paper are guided by what I believe to be an unseen hand or pen (maybe the term these days should be keyboard) and they end up preparing a feast for us that has a theme. I express my gratitude to them often, and wish to do so here in this format that through the miracle of technology will not only be read in the Tennessee Valley but in more than 80 countries around the world. I have been blessed with a terrific crew, from penning to production, and as you read this first edition of 2023, I think you’ll see that the theme is not the usual “beat-myself-up-after-the-holidays-I-must-do-better” approach, but rather it is far more about what I call “redemptive resiliency.”

The difference, to me at least, is that the latter is an invitation rather than a condemnation. What does that mean? That our desire to be new, whether it is during the New Year holiday, all year, or just because humans are divinely hardwired to desire to reset, rebuild, rebound, recreate and redeem runs deep, and these guys, these quietly-remarkable-regular-Joe-and-Jane writers have taken a risk with us as they share their hearts and their hopes for growth and peace. I salute them.

As for me, my longing for, and personal definition of “redemptive resiliency” has to do with inspired and informed focus, first up and then across, that results in tangible progress. It also has to do with believing that grit and resiliency are not things with which you are born, they are things that anyone can learn if they are willing. I recently read an article about a woman by the name of Anne Grady, who has made a career out of the crazy comeback, and helps individuals, communities, and organizations learn resilience.

Anne did not set out to be someone who gives TED talks or speak before thousands, or be a best-selling author, she learned what she has to offer by navigating epic, uncontrollable personal storms. She gave birth to a son who cried for 20 hours a day, who at the age of three tried to kill her with scissors, and who had to be put in a psychiatric facility at the age of 7. In addition, her husband left her, she fell down a flight of stairs, broke her foot in four places, had a temporarily paralyzing facial tumor and got some dust on her cornea, which created a set of problems all on its own.

When I read stuff like this, my immediate response is, “Ali Turner, pipe down, you don’t have a care in the world!” As appropriate as that might seem, it doesn’t do anything to equip me to either become better within and without, nor put me in a position to where I can be of service to anyone else, God or people.

Anne threw herself into the study of the brain out of her desperation to help her son, who is now 19 and is doing much better. Anyone who knows me knows that I am continually touting the power of our brains from the premise that we are not the result of primordial ooze, rather, we are fearfully and wonderfully made, and it is from that standpoint that resiliency becomes redemptive. Do people recover from all manner of things and never acknowledge the Almighty? All the time. But I think these pages will demonstrate that it is ultimately far more satisfying to seek, in 2023, the One who gave His life in order for you to earn the right to say, “All things are possible,” and then walk it out in a whole new way. Welcome to the new year, and may true triumph be your portion.