Change has been forced on us whether we like it or not: changes in the church, changes in our work, changes to our leisure, changes to life. Most of us don’t do change well, and that’s why we get irritated, angry and lash out. Some of you will be aware of the ‘stages of grief’ as we navigate our way through the emotions of grieving.

Some research has also been done on the ‘stages of change’. In today’s reflection, JULIA JENNINGS offers some valuable insights and how to understand what’s happening and cope better with change:

Responding to Change
I’d had a week plagued with crossed wires, misunderstandings, forgetfulness, clumsiness and I felt very tired and quite miserable; then after speaking to several friends, I discovered I was not alone.

As Rev Ian said in a recent sermon, “our souls are tired and our minds are weary” as we all try to cope with a phenomenal amount of change due to Covid 19. This reminded me of something called the Transition Cycle, illustrated in the graph on the picture section of this post.

I first learned about the transition cycle when I was training to be a careers adviser. Transition is not the same as change: It is a natural ‘inner’ process through which people come to terms with change. This process may be triggered by any major life event such as a new job, marriage, divorce and currently, Covid 19.

When we are initially confronted by change, there is emotional upheaval and often resistance because of having to let go of something we are comfortable with. I remember watching Boris’ first announcement telling us we would all be going into lockdown with disbelief, even though it had happened in so many other countries already. Negative change can evoke feelings of anger, denial, fear, sadness, frustration, uncertainty and a sense of loss that can manifest itself in a change of behaviour. After about 4 months, a transition crisis occurs when we may become irritable, anxious or confused and lose confidence without knowing why. That may sound a bit doom and gloom but, as the graph shows, we will reconstruct our lives and recover

The crisis phase generally lasts a few weeks and we are then able to let go of hopes and beliefs that are no longer appropriate, begin to ‘test the water’ of our new circumstances and move forward with new confidence. The whole transition cycle takes between 6 and 12 months. Right now, we are all trying to adapt to the ‘new normal’ and are likely to resent the change and be sceptical about how it will all work out. It is a very uncomfortable time for us all.

But what is the ‘new normal’ and should we even call it that? I read in a recent blog on the World Economic Forum (…/theres-nothing-new-about-this-ne…/) that by “using this language, we reimagine where we were previously relative to where we are now, appropriating our present as the standard”. I don’t think we have to do this. I think it’s okay to say to each other, and to God, that we don’t like any of this and wish we could have the old normal back. I strongly believe that the language we use in our ‘self-talk’ influences out state of mind. If I use language such as ‘anxious’ or ‘depressed’ I feel anxious and depressed but if I tell my self I’m feeling ‘concerned’ or say I’m ‘in a low mood’ I do not feel as bad.

This article also suggests that trying to normalize our situation by moving forward quickly into this new way of being will NOT help us cope. We must allow ourselves time to move through the transition cycle. There are things that can help, prayer, meditation, being creative, writing a journal (for me it’s writing this) and talking and listening to others.

Ian and the team at St Mary’s have been there for us throughout with the newsletters, daily reflections on Facebook and online sermons and offering individual support for those that need it, all while going through their own Transition Cycles too!

And now the church grounds are open, (we can have a squirt of hand gel on the way in/out) meet up with people we have seen for so long (still at a distance) and we can have (take away) refreshments from the tea room. I am grateful for this but it’s not normal and I haven’t accepted it yet. Have you? When we can, we will. In the meantime, let us allow ourselves to feel whatever we need to feel and let us try to be a listening ear to others so they can express what they feel too.




DOCTORS: Damian Mayo, Jenny Mayo, Charlotte Cox
NURSES: Caroline Frost, Penny Hensman, Ruth Tunski, Jenny Olding, Stephanie Smith
POLICE: Tom Wrenn, Scott Brodrick (RN)
NURSING HOMES: Jemma Frizelle
RETAIL AND FOOD DISTRIBUTION: Chris Jones (Sainsbury’s home delivery driver), Christine Horton (BP Garage, Portchester), Nick Knight (Tescos at Cosham), Natalie Ejemai (Tescos at Fratton) Debbie Foster and
Wendy Castle at Morrisons, Horndean, Keith Fleming-Brown (preparing hot meals for distribution to the
community)and Mark and Wendy Pyatt (delivering food through Portchester Community Centre to the community)

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