By Sue Kenfield
Sue Kenfield, M.A., is a consultant, certified resilience specialist, and parishioner at St. Thomas More. www.suekenfield.com.
Last week, the CDC changed their mask guidelines, and the Governor of Colorado lifted the mask mandate. Now many churches have also lifted their mask mandates and will lift other restrictions this Pentecost weekend. People are asking, “How do I adapt to all the recent changes?” Moving forward through challenges is a hallmark of resiliency.
These changes are cause for celebration for many and a cause of concern for others. As more restrictions start to lift, it may be challenging to shift your thought processes developed over the last 14 months. Keep in mind, the changes we are experiencing now have been unfolding over time with careful consideration and planning. If you are nervous about these changes, here are some suggestions.
Change invites us to be more flexible in our thinking and our approach. Some of these changes may be confusing with all the information we have been inundated with the last year. Those who feel these changes are happening too fast may be feeling pushed out of their comfort zone. If you are one of those, take some time to recognize and honor how you are feeling. It is okay to be uncomfortable. Next, start to pivot to what you can do to feel comfortable while still attending Mass in person. It may be carrying your own hand sanitizer or wipes or sitting further away from people to start.
All these changes may add to the uncertainty we have been living with since this time last year. Now is a time for faith and trust. It is also essential to recognize that we live with uncertainty every day. There are inherent risks in life. Do your best to mitigate the risks while also living a full life. Recall these words from Jeremiah, “’For I know the plans that I have for you,’ declares the Lord, ‘plans for welfare and not for calamity to give you a future and a hope” (Jeremiah 29:11).
Embrace change. It is part of the human dynamic to resist change partly because of our negativity bias; we view most change as unfavorable. Change is not all bad. Consider all the positive developments over the last year, such as the reality of therapeutics, vaccines, and the dropping COVID hospitalizations. Then consider the benefits of being able to gather in person again, at church, and beyond. God hard-wired us to connect in person, not through machines. That is how God made us all. Let us rejoice in his grace as he leads us forward.
Other restrictions may soon disappear altogether. Implementing these steps will help you develop more resiliency, adjust to future changes, and ease your fears about returning to Mass and re-engaging with your community. “For I the Lord do not change; therefore you, O children of Jacob, are not consumed” (Malachi 3:6).
Featured image by David Ramirez on Unsplash