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.