Is it right? Is it wrong? Many people wrestle with this question. I know, because I receive the calls. The tentative questions from administrators and executive staff, wondering: Is this really right? The experts say so. But . . . something about this feels off. I have to keep convincing people to do it. Can you help me convince them?
No, I say. If you are feeling strongly that returning to "business as usual" is wrong, it is probably best to trust that instinct. In fact, I've seen too many instances where it has seemed people forced routines on their membership and something important got lost in the translation of the mantra "return to routines."
Identifying what exactly got lost can be a little tricky, though.
"...that is your gauge for what is right in your circumstances. Does what you are doing in response to disaster actually feel stabilizing, nourishing, and supportive? Or does it feel taxing, stressful, and detracting from the nourishment that is needed?"
Most importantly, experts who tout resuming routines, indicate the vital significance of resuming – or even starting – healthy practices.
For example, first after a disaster, as soon as you can, trauma experts encourage you to resume healthy personal practices. Nourish your body, hydrate your body, and rest your body, they say. These practices will help sustain you through the haul of long-term recovery after disaster. Second, resume your responsibilities. Care for your home (or the roof over your head), care for the people who live in your home/shelter, and care for your work. These practices will help sustain the environment and relationships around you through the haul of long-term recovery. Third, attend to your personal and the corporate spirit to which you belong. Follow the calendar of your faith, receive the gift of a day off each week, and celebrate holidays regardless of the circumstances. These practices help you re-member the faithfulness you have inherited and participate in extending faithfulness forward. Moreover, they help remind you that life, and the human history to which you are part, is much more than your current circumstances.
The process of healing after disaster is an art more than a science. What works in one setting does not necessarily make the most sense in another. In every case, though, nourishment, sustenance, care, and support continue to be the hallmarks of the neighborhoods, families, and communities that rise above adversity.
As your organization considers how best to resume routines, consider how the routines are helping members experience health and stability again.