Write Team: Beginning again

Why do we love beginnings?

Whether it’s a wedding, a baby, a new job – whatever it is, anticipation brings joy.

On the other hand, we dislike problems that seem to go on and on with no solution in sight.

Like the increase in COVID-19 cases and the return of mask mandates.

Let’s face it, we are all tired!

There are questions:

When will it be over?

How much longer will we have to wear masks?

Will we have to show proof of vaccination?

Will the children have to wear masks at school?

Will we have to distance at Grandma’s house at Thanksgiving?

Or will we get together at all?

Will COVID-19 ruin Christmas?

When will things be like they used to be?

When can we get “back to normal?

Maybe life will never be the same again, at least not like it was.

I recently read several articles on re-entry syndrome, psychological distress brought on by making major readjustments in life, which can affect Arctic explorers and soldiers returning home from war. Some mental health experts compare it to the impact COVID-19 is having on us. We long for a return to what we call “normal.” We want to hug our friends, go to our jobs like we used to and return to our previous social activities, but we aren’t sure. Is it OK? We feel hesitant. It doesn’t feel the same, not as long as restrictions continue. Will it ever be the same? Is the virus mutating? What will prevent it from happening again?

Perhaps we are experiencing re-entry syndrome.

We often underestimate the effects stress and social isolation have had on us. When we emerge from these times, we are changed and things are never exactly the same.

This is the core feeling underlying re-entry syndrome.

We need to begin again.

On Oct. 7 to 9, 2021, 100 women from Stonecroft, a Christian ministry I’ve been a part of for many years, are planning to meet in Kansas City, Missouri, to do just that – to “Begin Again.” The number who can attend in person is restricted because of COVID-19. Hundreds of women, myself included, will join the meeting virtually on Zoom. The purpose of the meeting will be to begin again.

I recently wrote a devotional for Stonecroft that compares the new beginning Stonecroft is making to the story in the Bible when God parted the water of the Jordan River so the people of Israel could cross to a new land. The people were encouraged to forget the past and not yearn for what was, to be willing to change, to walk in new paths and try new methods.

So for us, too, maybe it won’t be the same and we won’t ever go back to the way it was.

There will be changes.

Perhaps COVID-19 has changed us all. We will need to adapt to the changes that come.

Faith in God’s providence can make the future an adventure if we are willing to begin again.

So while we hope for an end to viruses, restrictions, masks and bad news, let’s adopt a “Begin Again” attitude and approach the future with hope and optimism, like Stonecroft is doing.

• Carole Ledbetter of Ottawa is the author of two books, “Carole’s Columns” and “Who Am I Now? Growing Through Life’s Changing Seasons,” and is a speaker consultant for Stonecroft Ministries. She can be reached at dbarichello@shawmedia.com.