Pandemic Weary

We are pandemic weary. It’s been a whole long year! And we’re tired. Of death tallies. Of checking the health department website for case counts. We’re tired. Of masks. Of missing out on all the things we’d normally be doing. We’re tired. Of changed plans. Of cancellations. Of postponements. We’re tired. Of computer screens. Of standing six feet apart. We’re tired. Of our own four walls. Of the way our worlds have closed in, narrowed, grown smaller. 

Who knew that living in a year of cancellations and limits and so many more empty hours would be so exhausting? 

We’re exhausted – because grief is exhausting. And we’ve all grieved so much. For a whole year now. Plans put on hold. Events called off. Gatherings shut down. Life on pause. So many disappointments. 

And then – all the lives lost. The count climbs every day. The news of it surrounds us, piles on us like heavy coats of grief. The collective mourning of a country, of our community. How is it even possible to properly mourn so many? Before we can properly grieve one person, another is gone. Then another. And another. 

We humans – most of us – like to control our days, our weeks, our lives. We have planners and calendars and apps on our phones. We schedule all the things – for ourselves and our families. This activity and that. This meeting and that. This event and that. We organize and strategize. We plan and control. 

But for a whole year, there has been so much we cannot control. Our plans don’t matter. We are at the mercy of the people who make the decisions. And they are at the mercy of a virus that is relentless. They are at the mercy of something they don’t fully understand. And they’re faced with impossible decisions with actual lives weighing on the scales. Though we want to be in control, we probably don’t actually want the burden of that responsibility. 

Some of us have been here before. Not with a pandemic, but with life circumstances that are completely out of our control. The monsters we feared most turned out to be real. Our worst nightmares crawled from our sleep and roared into our days, ripping everything to shreds. We’ve held our children as their worlds crumbled and collapsed. So though we haven’t handled a pandemic, we had some practice with navigating disruption, disappointment, heartbreak, destruction. And this year feels like so much more sadness piled on and piled on.

But some of us have been hustling through life, holding disappointment at bay. We’ve managed to shelter our kids from true heartbreak. We’ve held their worlds together and given them everything we could to make them happy. All the opportunities, the activities, the experiences. All the things. As best we could. But now, for a whole year, we keep crashing into one brick wall of disappointment after another, one barrier after another. No matter what we try, no matter how loud we get, no matter how many ladders we try to climb over or around the restrictions and rules – we cannot stop a pandemic. We cannot give our children – or ourselves – the year we’d planned for, hoped for, imagined. 

And so we are weary. Frustrated. Maybe even angry. 

We just want our lives back. Of course we do. We want the weight of grief to lift. We’re exhausted from its heavy load. 

And we’re almost there. I can see the glimmer of dawn on the horizon. We’re almost there. Hold on. Be patient. So that all that we’ve given up in the past year won’t be in vain. Hold on. Just a little bit longer. 

We’re weary. All of us. Deep in our bones, we feel the load of sorrow and worry pressing on us. Let’s be gentle with each other. Let grace fill us, bubbling up and flowing so that we shower streams of grace upon each other. Watering our weary souls, our weary selves, with mercy and kindness.

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