Metanoia: Connection Changes Everything


This week, I’m pondering the word metanoia, the ancient Greek word often translated as ‘repent.’ Among other things, it means a turn, an expansion of the mind, an opening of new possibilities.

I was in the zone at work yesterday, and it felt really tremendous.

In my role at the Epilepsy Foundation of Michigan, I am tasked with addressing isolation and expanding connection between people. I care deeply about this, and it’s very meaningful for me to work in this direction.

Isolation is sadly a frequent difficulty for people in the epilepsy community. Social stigma is strong, and at times, there is secrecy around the illness. Many people in our community are also unable to drive, and that places additional challenges for social connection. Individuals and families sometimes have this internal feeling of being ‘the only one’ they know going through this, simply because they don’t have others with epilepsy in their immediate circle. (Or they might not know that they do. Epilepsy is remarkably prevalent. 1 in 26 people will have this condition at some point in their lives. That’s a lot of people!)

Yesterday, I found myself having a number of personal conversations with people over the phone, and more than once, I had the occasion to introduce people to each other, knowing that their experiences are similar. And each time there were occasions to connect, I saw change happen.

This is personal conviction that drives me:
Connection changes everything.

This is true in our epilepsy community, but this is true… in all situations. I’m convinced of this. Human connection changes every situation.

It doesn’t fix every situation.

But it always changes it.

And I believe, most frequently, it changes things for the better. Want to transform a situation, a need, or an area for growth? Connect.

Renee Roederer

3 thoughts on “Metanoia: Connection Changes Everything

  1. The wonderful religious author, Karen Armstrong, has epilepsy, as she recounts discovering in her second autobiography: The Spiral Staircase: My climb out of Darkness. It was a great gain to her to find out, as she had all sorts of fanciful and mostly distressing notions to account for her behaviour before she found out.


    1. Yes, such a good book! I read that in seminary, and it was so meaningful to me. Though we both had different types of epilepsy, Karen Armstrong and I had seizures for years without fully understanding what that was… It was intriguing to read someone else who had a similar experience, and someone I greatly respected too!


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