Submitted by: Kae Tritle, RN Wellness Coordinator
This has been a marathon year of coping with the effects of Covid-19. Unfortunately, we are not through. Like all marathons, the last third of the race feels the longest. The same is true now for the pandemic.
While it seems that we have been in a holding pattern, waiting for life to resume, we have really been in a society-altering transition. Life will not go back to what it was before Covid-19. Zoom gatherings are here to stay. The freedom of not having to be in the same physical space has opened up new opportunities for employers, education, social connections, and other organizations. Many people are still wary of being in close spaces with strangers and it will take some time for people to feel safe in dining, entertainment, and hospitality facilities.
In his book Transitions: Making Sense of Life’s Changes
, W. Bridges explains the transition process:
- Endings: Transition always begins with an ending. Our social environment and the way we related to others shifted with the Covid-19 pandemic. It was no longer safe to gather with those whom we didn’t live with. We have adapted and put in place safety precautions to cope with the change, but an ending has happened. A grief response was activated. We have experienced a multitude of emotions.
- Neutral Zone: This is a true in-between time—a time between the death of the past and the birth of the future. Often there is a sense of emptiness and a feeling of sorrow as the past life is dismantled. Many of us have experienced or are experiencing this currently, even as we have adapted and coped with changes on a daily basis over the last year. We also continue to be in the grief process as we deal with the losses in our lives; deaths of family members, loss of jobs/income, loss of social networks, and other changes in our lives.
Just as the fallow winter season is necessary for the re-birth that happens each spring, the neutral zone is necessary for transformation and renewal within our society. Transformative inner work is taking place both corporately in our various communities and within us individually. Our churches, schools, work-places, communities, and each of us individually is re-imaging how to function in this new normal. Even though it may feel like nothing is happening or that we are spinning our wheels, a process of re-orientation and a sense of perspective is happening.
“I am about to do a new thing: now it springs forth, do you not perceive it? I will make a way in the wilderness” (Isaiah 43:19 NRSV)
- New Beginnings: This is what we long and hope for, but it is also a process. While we want external signs and signals (neon or otherwise) that we have arrived, true beginnings seldom happen that way. Genuine beginnings are of the inner self. It usually comes as a hint, an internal nudge, or an off-hand comment from others. For both persons and organizations, it may be an off-the-wall idea that, at first glance, seems impractical or improbable. True beginnings aren’t so much an outward goal as an inward resonance. There is an inner alignment with deep longings, which causes a renewal of energy and powerful motivation. One feels a compulsion to take action and to start. True beginnings do take time, however. Be gentle with yourself as you continue the inner identification process and live into your new reality.
Have patience and perseverance as the transition process continues. We will come out on the other side with a sense of hope and renewal.