April 9, 2021

What 2020 Taught Me as a Writer and as a Person ~ Part 2

Cynthia Ruchti

Traveling for conferences and speaking for women’s retreats rank high on my list of joy-bringers. Zap! Overnight the plug was pulled. I cancelled so many flights that Delta wrote to tell me they missed me. I’m a bit worried the gate agents with whom I’ve built relationships at our small regional airport will think I’ve forgotten them. I hope when travel resumes for me, they’ll remember our deal—that 52 pounds of luggage can easily round down to the max of 50.

I did not lose anyone close to me due to COVID. I lost them before COVID. I did not lose my job, although I lost a chunk of irretrievable income. I did not have to vacate my home. Home was and is a haven. I won the battle with my own bout with the virus and kept breathing. Although I did lose my sense of taste and smell and they are very tardy in returning, the little scamps. I didn’t miss a meal because we couldn’t afford food. The only meals we missed were the ones I didn’t feel like making. I was drafted into service as the homeroom monitor for two teen grandsons, but I may have enjoyed the role of encourager and snack provider a little too much.

We’re still here. We survived with our health relatively intact. We’ve enjoyed the extra togetherness…for the most part. My luggage has been grateful for the stay-cation. And the books did release.

So, tackling a topic like this—What 2020 Taught Me as a Writer and a Person—humbles me. I didn’t have to walk through the valley of the shadow of death but still learned more than a few life lessons. Among them are the revelations of:

· Things I once took for granted—coffee with a friend, lunch dates with my sisters, hugs, having a chef or cook or hamburger flipper or anyone else but me make supper, breathing air not filtered through cloth.

· Things I once wasted—slightly shriveled carrots, potato skins, that last square of you-know-what on the cardboard roll, leftovers I threw out because we were tired of eating the same thing, moments (so many moments!).

· Things that can’t be shaken—faith, the blessing of a good family, peace that isn’t dependent on circumstances.

· Things I know now—that freedom is not hindered by borders or restrictions because true freedom is internal, that it’s not a right but a privilege to have two packages of paper towels in your cart at Sam’s Club, that much of what we call hardship would be better named inconvenience, and that words and story have no boundaries even if they have to be communicated virtually or on yellow legal pads.

· Things I’ll remember when I write—that the pain or losses I imagine for my characters are always minor compared to some readers’ real losses, that the stories we tell matter because for some readers 2020’s distresses were blips on the radar of what they face every day, and that we—authors and readers—are more resilient than we realized.

Years ago, a friend and I adopted a policy for handling crisis of any sort. Actually, we didn’t so much adopt it as agree to it. God invented the policy millennia ago: Adjust and trust. One without the other does not a saying make. Or a good plan.

When disappointments rain down like Agent Orange…

When crises just won’t…stop…coming…

When upheaval is the catchword of the day…

When expectations dissolve like bath fizzies and leave a nasty stink rather than a sweet smell…

When what we get is the opposite of what we hoped for…

When prayers not only go unanswered but seemingly unacknowledged…

When nothing looks or feels normal…

When you realize normal is too much to ask…

When you can’t see the end of the tunnel’s darkness…

When uncertainty crowds out every optimistic thought…

Adjust and trust.

Businesses, restaurants, schools, families pivoted. When it came down to the option to adapt or to fold, most adapted. But pivoting is only part of the code for surviving life’s disappointments and devastations. Adjust and trust. Adjusting can weary us. It’s hard on body, mind, and spirit. Trusting fuels us.

What did 2020 teach me? I have a feeling most of its lessons are still on the horizon as I keep adjusting, keep trusting, and keep writing to those who need to renew their confidence in the truth that they can’t unravel if they’re hemmed in hope.

Cynthia Ruchti is the award-winning author of more than 30 books, including the novels Afraid of the Light, Miles from Where We Started, As Waters Gone By, Song of Silence, A Fragile Hope, and They Almost Always Come Home. Her books have been honored with more than 40 readers’, reviewers’, and retailers’ awards, including Romantic Times’s Inspirational Novel of the Year, four Selah Awards, and five Christian Retailing’s BEST Awards, and has been a finalist for many others, including the Carol and the Christy. Former president of and current professional relations liaison for American Christian Fiction Writers (ACFW), Cynthia lives in Wisconsin and can be found online at


  1. Thanks for the privilege of sharing my thoughts!

  2. Thanks for sharing them. I didn't get Covid, but my daughter did and she's still struggling with the aftermath and is not out of the woods yet. I also lost several friends...not close, but friends nevertheless. What I learned most was that God is Faithful and to roll with the ups and downs we're going through. Thanks Cynthia!

  3. Thank you so much Cynthia for sharing your thoughts with us. We appreciate it and definitely needed them. Looking forward to reading your book.