The headline this week in the Ketchikan Daily News reads: “We’re open for business.”

I am sure that many in the community are welcoming this news and excited to be part of the reopening. There is much to be grateful for.

But what does that mean — to you, your family, your church, your venturing out after months of staying at home?

We have so much to think about once again.

When we first were given guidance for the pandemic, rules changed every day, almost every hour. Now we enter that decision-making place again. What will it be like to put our trust in our neighbors and unmask, shop and worship?

It is human nature to step around the uncomfortable and difficult parts of this COVID-19 time. We’d like to forget it ever happened. But we just can’t do that — our lives have changed.

Nevertheless, we have a responsibility — a sacred responsibility to each other.

We are called to love one another as God loves us. With that comes responsibility.

We are responsible for each other’s well-being. That means holding ourselves accountable and ensuring we are part of the best path toward recovery.

So, with this mandate from Christ — to be compassionate, kind and responsible — we must be ready to make our own decisions about the next steps we will take.

For some the change brings a mixture of resilience and wariness. Can we sit with this uncertainty?

The answer is yes. Now more than ever, we must open our ears and just listen to each other. Getting some feelings out in the open, releasing our concerns — our worries — can ease unsettling thoughts that have built up over the past weeks. It often brings that moment of clarity which can direct us to our best choices.

We have our stories to tell. Some have lost family, friends. Some have been unable to see loved ones for a very long time. Some have lost work.

Empathy and compassion require no words. Listening and understanding go a long way to help others make the transition. What’s important is not to rush others before they are ready; this is being a good neighbor. We are called to be compassionate, kind and patient.

How we embrace reopening is a matter of perspective. Let’s take a pause, examine our values and pray about it. We know God is listening.

Margie Adams, MA, is the staff chaplain at PeaceHealth Ketchikan Medical Center.

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Perspectives is a regular column sponsored and written by members of the Ketchikan Ministerial Association.