I was talking to a friend recently who was feeling overwhelmed.
“And this isn’t even supposed to be the hard part of the pandemic!” she said.
I jumped right in, emphatically disagreeing. “To me, this is the hardest part of the pandemic.”
I never want to glamourize the trauma we have all experienced throughout this season. Yet there was a simplicity to some of the mid-pandemic times where I knew I was to stay home, to take out food. There were no decisions about travel. No one was asking to meet in the church sanctuary. It was a limited time, but there was clarity about what needed to be done.
Now, there are constant decisions. Is there high spread of covid in my area? Do I wear a mask even if I’m vaccinated? Can we be planning for indoor fall services?
In many ways, this type of heightened activity and decision making is deeply familiar. It’s the speed and desire for efficiency baked into our culture. So many of us have been taught to always look for more, to be busier, and to work harder. As much as the busyness of this season can be attributed to the pandemic, I have found it to be important to remember that these are problems that have existed for a long time.
The CPD resource Fast Food Faith says the following:
For many there does not seem to be enough time for church. With working spouses and the changing face of the contemporary family, it is a luxury if there is time available for volunteering at church. Church leaders experience this as a shrinking “volunteer pool.” They find it becomes increasingly more difficult to maintain the programs of the church. One congregation’s leaders described themselves as: “overwhelmed, overcommitted, and burnt out.” They said, “We have learned from our culture that all our time must be filled with activity.” We no longer take the time to ask, to listen, and to discern how God would have us fill our time.”
We cannot simply and easily take away these burdens of busyness from one another and from ourselves. And yet, we can seek to ground ourselves in the God who provides rest. We can become aware of the reality we live in. And sometimes, we can just take 30 minutes and go take a nap.
By Rachel McDonald