“We are a Resurrection!”
Greetings Members and Friends of Second Congregational Church!
I think I’ve mentioned it before, but there is an old Chinese “blessing” of sorts that says, “May you live in interesting times.” Well, folks, it sure looks like we’re there! One of the gifts of being human beings is that we can learn as we go along. One of the things we’ve learned about is how people go through the process of facing a disaster. Each disaster may be different, but the process typically follows the same general order. The points I offer below are from an email I received from the Rev. Don Remick, who has been the Disaster Coordinator for the Southern New England Conference of the UCC. Information can be power!
1. Impact: First, in the midst of the impact, we look for safety and security: food, shelter, water and clothing. The sense of shock and the fear engendered by the disaster provide the emotional energy to attend to these needs. This is the time when the wind is still blowing, the fire burning, the snow falling, and people still being accounted for.
2. Short Term: Next, when the damaging crisis has passed, we assess the situation for damage and loss, both human and property. This is the time when grief comes to the surface. It is when we seek some sense of stability or a new normal. This is emotional, spiritual and hands-on work that cannot happen in the head or in some strategy. It’s the place where the “what was” is let go, and where we can begin to glimpse the “what can be,” although that doesn’t always happen. Resilience depends on what we bring with us to this moment.
3. Long Term: The focus here is Adapting, Recovering (getting our social, emotional and spiritual feet back under us) and Thriving into a new normal. This is where we develop understanding and meaning for what we’ve been through. Our understanding and our behavior both shift, behaviorally, emotionally, spiritually and in terms of how we see the world. We can begin to have a clearer identity, a sharper sense of purpose, and a powerful new story of what could be.
4. Preparation: The last stage becomes the first phase of preparing for the next disaster. We take what lessons we can from the past as we move forward, educating folks about what preparation and resilience mean.
The unique challenge with the coronavirus is that, as a disaster, it is unfolding over weeks and months instead of minutes or hours. Further, a virus is itself invisible, although the effects are catastrophic. Although we’ve been living with it for a while already, we are only at Stage 2 in the process. As the curve flattens and restrictions ease, we’ll be able to move into Stage 3, and eventually Stage 4. It is a process that is hard work.
One of the reasons these stages can be written down at all is that we as human beings have been through disasters before, and we’ve come out on the other side. We are a species blessed by God with resilience and resourcefulness. God is the One who made us “only slightly less than divine, crowned with glory and grandeur” (Psalm 8:5). We are a Resurrection people!