I am tired. I know the author of Hebrews encourages us to keep running the race of faith like Jesus, but he also said there would be a great cloud of witnesses cheering us one. I am tired and, as we are socially distancing, there is no cloud of friends cheering me on during this “race.” I am ready to finish the race, to try something else, but the finish line is not yet in sight. So I keep “running”, but I am tired.
You know those people who ask, you may be one of them, what new thing you have learned or done in lockdown? I am tired of that question. It is so positive! I don’t always feel that positive. Now I have done a few new things—some with moderate success, some total flops—so I haven’t totally “wasted” my time. Still the positive energy of the question evades me because I am tired.
I think I am tired because I have actually spent all of the last few weeks learning. I have learned about technology. I have learned about making food with what is in my fridge and cupboard. I have learned to make do. I have learned I don’t need as much stuff. I have tried some new skills, but more than any of that, I am learning a new culture. And learning new cultures is exhausting!
I have moved many times in my life. I have moved from one US coast to another. I have moved across the Atlantic Ocean, twice. I have moved from England to Wales. Each move has involved learning how to live in a different culture. And learning about different cultures is exhausting. No matter how hard I try to listen, watch the way people interact, I make mistakes. I say something that is not appropriate in the new context and hurt someone’s feelings or make a fool of myself. It is not my intention to hurt anyone or look silly, but it happens. I try learning more so it doesn’t happen again.
I think the pandemic has created a new culture. Each day we learn something else about what we are or are not supposed to do. Wear face masks or not? Stand two metres apart or not? Wash our hands regularly and wash the items that come into our homes or not? Travel or, in Wales, not to travel more than five miles. Standing in queues at stores, waiting outside or downloading an app that says which stores have the shortest clues. The list is endless. And I find learning these new rules exhausting. It’s a new culture with new rules. And, rightfully, we are now thinking about adding how not to be racists and supporting Black Lives Matters more overtly. I am tired.
I would love a holiday from learning, for just a few weeks, but breaks are banned at the moment! So I keep listening, learning, making mistakes, trying again—lessons about Covid 19 life and lessons about supporting BAME people. I am tired, but I have to keep learning. If you are learning too, maybe we can cheer each other on as we walk this race.