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I wonder, if butterflies were able talk, what they would say about the transition from chrysalis to the beautiful colourful creatures we know and love. Would they remark on the sense of freedom that comes with fluttering through the air? Would they moan about the dark wet days of summer we get from time to time where all they can do is look for shelter? 

            I wonder how you are feeling about the forthcoming lifting of many of the restrictions that we have experienced over the past fifteen months or more.

Some people I know are raring to go and can’t wait to be able to gather inside and outside with family, friends and colleagues or at large gatherings like concerts and gigs, the cinema or theatre.

But others are fearful: fearful of coronavirus and its effects, afraid that they have forgotten how to be with others, scared that it will all be a bit overwhelming after so long away from the fray.

I imagine that many of us, myself included, are partly joyful at the thought of opening up and partly anxious about what it will mean.

There are difficult decisions to be made about what pre-coronavirus normalities we wish to return to and which we will forego. There are new things we have discovered – how many of them do we wish to retain?

Many of us are out of practice in being with groups of people or mixing with anyone outside those with whom we live. While some are longing for their delayed holidays abroad to happen, others are overawed by the thought of going anywhere future than their own village or Blandford or Dorchester.

How do we navigate these changes? I think there are some things we can do to make it easier for everyone.

            Make kindness your default position. Judgement is all too easy but none of us can know exactly what it is like living in someone else’s shoes. 

Listen to the concerns of those who are anxious about the opening up, before giving them the benefit of your wisdom.

Help those who are fearful of the wider world to take it step-by-step. Why not invite them for a coffee or go with them for a walk before they have to face a larger gathering or more crowded space?

Cultivate a spirit of thankfulness for what you have, rather than focussing on what has been lost (though it’s important to find space to lament the losses as well at the appropriate times).

Jesus said: Love your neighbour as you love yourself (Mark 12.31). We’re all different, but the qualities of sensitivity, peace-making, offering and seeking forgiveness, gratitude, patience, humility, openness and understanding go a long way towards these ideals of treating others as we would like to be treated.

And at the times when you are feeling vulnerable yourself, remember the words of Minnie Haskins quoted by King George VI in his 1939 Christmas broadcast regarding an unknown future: Go out into the darkness and put your hand into the hand of God. That shall be to you better than light and safer than a known way.”



With best wishes


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