I am tired. I am frustrated by inconveniences I could overcome before. I am distracted by issues that should never have arisen. I have more work to do than ever, it seems. And I am tired.
One of the difficult things about my experience of Chronic Fatigue Syndrome is that it is often unclear what exactly has caused a worsening of symptoms.
Over the past couple of days, my cognition is increasingly clouded, my muscles feel inflamed and achy again, and I am so, very, tired.
This week with my congregation, I have been liaising with
- Elders to coordinate care and connections with our most vulnerable and isolated
- Retired/ Associate Ministers for worship at home content for this Sunday
- Council chair on various matters from finances to staff to communication
- Office staff on logistical support for the congregation and other users of our property, especially communication
I have been in communication also with individual members for pastoral care and helping to discern responses for their groups to this ever changing situation; and receiving communication from our church’s leaders on the ever changing situation and what is required of us as we lead our congregations.
I have been planning worship at home resources for coming weeks – including one of the most high, holy, and profound weeks in the Christian calendar: Holy Week. How do I help my people enter the stories this year, in this context?
Even without CFS, then, my mind would be reeling by now, juggling all of that.
Without CFS, my body would be aching, holding all that tension.
After a week like that, of course a vicar would be tired, even one not chronically exhausted already.
But I have also eaten more dairy than usual, drunk more wine than usual, been in the pool and seen the chiropractor less than usual. How do I know if any of those things is also the problem, or do I assume it all contributes somehow: what do I need to change in order to not feel so achy, so tired, so unable to think clearly?
Do I press on with the work I have before me today, or shall I adapt plans for the timing and structure of the resources I would produce and distribute for Holy Week? Because I’m not sure I can press on today. I’m pretty certain rest is what is needed today.
Knowing the way my creativity works, I suspect that if I rest, I will find the work I need to do more possible tomorrow; the words I need to craft flow freely tomorrow: if I rest today.
And I wonder, you who do not live with Chronic Fatigue Syndrome, but are also overwhelmed in this Covid-19 situation of physical distancing, are experiencing the impact of the restrictions to our daily life, and no doubt have inconveniences and challenges you could manage before but now seem too, too much: will you press on today? Or will you rest?