A week or so ago I was introduced to the idea that during any crisis there at about the six-month point individuals “hit the wall”. Dr. Aisha Ahmad who is an Associate Professor at the University of Toronto tweeted about her own multiple experiences in disaster zones stating that at this six-month mark, people enter a slump. She points out that in this particular crisis, there’s no option to run away… and that this wall is real and normal and expected.
It’s strange, isn’t it, to find that this lack of feeling that anything will ever be normal again is in itself, normal?
She doesn’t stop there. She goes on to share that after a few weeks, we will again find our energy and creativity and begin to tackle the next period of adaptation.
I found this profoundly comforting. Not only is what I’m experiencing (and seeing elsewhere) normal and expected but there is promised end. The pandemic may last many more months, but the feeling of weariness that some of us are experiencing will not last forever.
Her suggestion is that instead of attempting to storm the wall, that the more productive course is to ride it out. Do what must be done but allow the wall to break apart naturally in 4 – 6 weeks. Until then, she advocates being good to yourself and to others.
That action? Hitting the wall and deciding to rest instead of blasting it with the full force of our will?
That’s called faith.
It’s not just faith in the words of a teacher from Toronto, it’s faith that this isn’t all on our shoulders and that Someone else is also in the mix. It’s an act of faith to simply stop and trust that there are some things we can’t power through… and to allow the gift of sabbath to wash over us and heal our weariness.
My hunch is that just as there are individual walls, there are organizational ones and that our congregations are running into them with gusto. These walls aren’t ones that can be solved with technical abilities and solutions (new microphones, a bit better lighting and everything is better!) but instead require adaptive responses. The problem is it’s hard to think adaptively when up against the wall. It’s hard to dig down to the root of an issue and to look at it creatively when everyone in the room is exhausted.
After months of changing and figuring out what this new context requires of God’s church and our congregations, our best decisions and actions will come after we’ve broken through the wall. I realize some decisions cannot wait – but those that can? My prayer is that we have the collective wisdom to realize it may be time to claim some sabbath time, and that wall is a great place to lean against and rest for a bit.