High River United Church of High River, Alberta

Pandemics are Exhausting

We began a sprint in March of 2020 only to discover that we were actually entered into a marathon, that has gone on and on. This marathon doesn’t have a set finish line. The end point keeps moving. We are told that it is just ahead or that there will be a rest period along the route. But here we are 14 months later, still putting one foot in front of the other as the marathon continues.


Pandemics are exhausting. Many of us are experiencing an ongoing sense of fatigue, hanging around the edges of everything we do. Some days we are more exhausted than others. Those who are working ICU and other front line medical positions are even more exhausted. Our teachers and students who have had to pivot from in-person to on-line learning over and over this year are exhausted. Store and restaurant owners, managers and staff are exhausted from the constant adaptation required. Parents working from home while supporting children in online learning are exhausted. Pandemics are exhausting.


Everything we do requires extra thought and attention. Do I have a mask? Did I touch something that would require me to sanitize my hands, just in case? I reach out to give someone a hug and then remember – no, I must keep my distance. I move closer to hear what someone is saying, because the mask prevents the facial cues I am used to – and that all becomes exhausting.


There are days when my brain feels so foggy. I can’t remember the name of someone whose name I absolutely should know. I can’t keep focussed on reading my book or writing an e-mail. I feel scattered, and that is frustrating and tiring.


Pandemics are exhausting. So some people decide to just ignore the safety protocols since they are tired of them. Some decide to pretend there is no pandemic. Some are just too tired to go out at all and prefer to stay home if they can.


We’d rather not hear any more statistics about number of active cases, number in hospital, numbers in ICU and number of deaths each day. It is exhausting to hear the numbers, but these are real people, whose lives are being affected in profound ways. For me, hearing the daily numbers is an opportunity for prayer – to pray for each one in hospital, for those who are grieving, for medical staff, for the government leaders and officers who are making difficult decisions, for business owners who are struggling, for teachers and students, and for everyone in our community as together we continue on this marathon.


Pandemics do end. This one will, too. And the end is in sight, with the wonders of vaccines available to us. Yet, the finish line is still shifting.


One of my favourite scripture passages comes from Isaiah 40:28-31 –

    “Those who wait upon the Lord shall renew their strength;

    they shall mount up with wings like eagles,

    they shall run and not be weary,

    they shall walk and not be faint.”


Just repeating those words to myself renews my energy. I lean into the Loving Presence which holds the whole universe. I sense the Love who has been with me since before my birth. And in that Love I find the energy to put on my mask one more time, to get through one more scattered day, to rest when I need to, to pray and to trust that God’s strength will see us through this exhausting marathon.


Rev. Susan

High River United Church


a community of help, home and hope, serving in Christ's name





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123 MacLeod Trail S.W. High River, Alberta.

(403) 652-3168


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