PATTERNS OF CHANGE: Coping in an Unpredictable Season
By Pastor Donna
Predictability is comfortable. I think we can all agree that change can be unsettling. From my nursing education, I remember learning about neuropathways that develop in our brains from doing things over and over. With enough repetition, behaviors become automatic. This is good when riding a bike or driving a car, but not so good if we’re stuck in a rut and faced with change.
Patterns emerge. We know exactly where we sit in church, or at least where we used to sit before COVID-19. We know exactly how we like our coffee, and we have preferred routes to get our groceries. We answer the phone with a tone different from our talking voice. Someone said, “We are creatures of habit,” and I agree. Planned predictability helps bring a sense of calm and certainty to our over-stimulated world.
Patterned predictability allows our brains to rest. We are eleven months into 2020, and it feels like my habits and predictable comfort patterns have a slightly altered version now. Our church pews have been replaced by our recliners or couches. We’re used to shopping at the supermarket 6 feet from the next person. State and county regulations have shifted, but yet the wearing mask mandate has stayed consistent. There are enough similarities and predictability our brains can rest and cope.
Our usual pathways are remapping. What we once thought required an office environment can now be done remotely. Students in some locations who were once scolded for playing hooky are told to stay away from class indefinitely. Masks used to be worn in health care facilities, and now masks are a hot fashion trend. You can even get them to match your suit or your dress.
Paul’s letter has hope for the overwhelmed. How do we care for those among us with so many needs when we can’t even be with them? How do we hit pause or focus on our morning devotions while trying to navigate and negotiate a global pandemic? The Apostle Paul wrote some pretty good stuff.