I held my grandbaby on my hip for 15 minutes in the pharmacy line the other day, only to get to the front and be told the prescription that should have been done earlier wasn’t even filled yet. But while I was waiting in line, I read words that squeezed my heart. It was a handwritten note on a piece of poster board that hung at the front counter of the pharmacy. The note was addressed to customers and said that after a year and a half of dealing with Covid, “We’re tired.” The pharmacy was understaffed, and they asked if we could please be patient.
It wasn’t hard to imagine the disgruntled customers who were waiting in lines longer than ever before experienced and how short all of people’s fuses must be. I felt my own impatience rise. I already had to drag my grandchild into the store, because the pharmacy couldn’t staff the drive-through. It would have been easy to grumble about how the prescription should have been ready an hour earlier. I could have barked about having to come back the next day for the medicine. But the simple message, “We’re tired,” went straight to my heart. I understood.
Several months ago, someone expressed annoyance to me about the whole Covid thing and why couldn’t people just get over it and move on. My jaw dropped at his inability to read the room.
The room isn’t over it, and the tsunami of its effects has yet to dissipate. Our lives have changed. And the stress of a pandemic is only the base layer of the stressors in one’s personal life–the relationship struggles, the job insecurities, the grief of losses.
Have you seen the price of beef recently?
Can we get the packages we order?
Will Taco Bell be open for lunch or closed because of understaffing?
Have you tried to buy a house in this market?
Somebody get me a blood pressure cuff, because I would be really curious to know what my body is doing in response to all of this ongoing change and stress. Can you feel your own physical response to the last year and a half of suffering through the pandemic?
Today I ate two donuts. Before you judge me, please know that I went weary to a friend’s house, and she had them fresh from her oven. If you were worn out and your friend had homemade pumpkin donuts waiting for you, wouldn’t you eat two of them? I offer you the story of Elijah, who sat down under a broom tree in exhaustion and asked the Lord to let him die. “I have had enough, LORD,” he said. (1 Kings 19:4 NIV) He fell asleep, and the angel of the LORD roused him twice for hot bread and water.
Homemade carbs and sleep. Yes.
On Saturday night, I sat in worship at church. All I could pray, over and over again through the service, was, “Lord, I’m so tired. I have had enough.” It was a broom tree kind of worship, but I know God saw me there.
Are you worn out? Have you had enough? Is your blood pressure higher than it’s ever been? Pray an honest prayer. Tell the Lord just how you feel, and he will take care of you. He is tender enough to know when bread and sleep are the answer, so you can trust him to know exactly what you need so that you can keep living.
Yessssssssss, sister. YES.
I don’t know if you know Brad Hambrick’s compassionate, Biblical counseling writing, but I just this week read and listened to his post on Burnout. I don’t know how God does it, but He managed a three-for-one in that hour of words to the weary: 1) an unmistakable, practical answer to my prayer for better time management skills, 2) burning conviction on my prideful, perfectionistic ego, and 3) courage and hope for a better way to live.
“Come to me, all you who are weary, and I will give you rest.”
Praying He grants the deepest kind of soul-rest to us both, salving whatever it is in us that needs salve, saving us from ourselves, lifting our chins to gaze radiant-faced toward the glorious perfection of His loving face.
God bless you!!
I do understand what you’re saying about burnout, which is something caused by our poor life management choices. But I think what I’m getting at in this article is about suffering, which is different. Suffering is due to circumstances beyond our control. In burnout you can decide to change how you’re living, thus easing fatigue, but in suffering you can’t change what’s happening. We can’t control the pandemic or most of the effects of it. We can’t change the housing market spike or the hay shortage that is causing rising beef costs. I am most comforted, in this hard season, by the truth that Christ surely has carried all of our sorrows. He understands what we are experiencing and is a compassionate Shepherd, to provide what we need to persevere when relief is not in sight.
You’re 100% right. I’m sorry to have implied by my comment that the solution to weariness is simply better time management. It’s not.
I know the weariness of suffering, too, and find it much harder to bear up under precisely because it is caused by what I can’t control …. and therefore am helpless to bring about relief.
Praying for God’s good provision for us all right now.
Sometimes it’s a combination of both, though–self inflicted burnout PLUS all of the hardships coming our way. I’m glad you brought it up, and I hadn’t heard of that author before. I’d be interested to read his book on burnout. It looks really good.
Thank you for sharing this! I am a pharmacist in a pharmacy exactly like yours, except ours doesn’t have the sign out front. In pharmacies we are doing so much more with less staff. We are vaccinating thousands of people. This is in addition to our usual (overloaded) work load. Patience makes it possible to continue, so do small tokens of thanks. My favorite was a male who brought us a pack of Oreos, plastic cups and 1/2 gallon of milk when he saw how busy we were. He said he wanted to bring a smile to our faces, it worked. It was amazing how dunking a few Oreos in milk makes us smile.
Oh my word, that is the best idea! I was standing there reading that sign, wondering how I could encourage all of those people. I’m totally doing that! And I’m sorry for the intense strain. These are hard, hard days, but abundantly more so for anyone in the health care industry. Blessings on you!!!!
Comments are closed.