They call it COVID Fatigue. I think I have it.

I am tired of wearing a mask to enter a store. I like to see the smiles on people’s faces. Or, are they smiling? Maybe they are frowning, or smirking. It’s hard to read what people might be thinking behind those masks.

I am tired of distancing. I want to host friends and family in our home. I want to have all our kids home for Thanksgiving and Christmas. I want to attend church, to greet fellow believers with handshakes and hugs, to sing without restraint or restriction. Gathering is one of the important elements of our Christian faith.

I started a Bible study this summer with several men in our neighborhood, meeting outside on our back deck. They are all much younger than me.

One is 27 and another is 31. We greet one another with fist-bumps. But, with snow this weekend and darkness settling in at 5 p.m. when we “fall back,” I proposed that we take a winter break.

As a diabetic in my 70s, I explained I was not comfortable meeting with a group of guys inside.

They fully understood my concerns but suggested we continue meeting outside in the cold and dark.

“We can bundle up,” they said. So, we plan to continue gathering around the fire pit on my back deck for Bible study.

Our response to COVID has created some positives.

The American Family Survey recently discovered that most marriages have actually strengthened under the stresses of COVID. 58 percent of those 18-55 reported they have grown to appreciate their spouse more. Men have become more involved with housework and childcare. Husbands and wives have spent more time together walking and talking. Those who reported their marriages were in trouble fell from 40 percent in 2019 to 29 percent in 2020.

COVID has forced us to strengthen our online connections for extended learning, work and family.

Last Saturday, my wife and I attended the wedding for my cousin’s daughter online in Shreveport, Louisiana while sitting in our home in Colorado.

But we are far from out of the woods with COVID. Last week, the U.S. reported the highest single day of new cases since the pandemic started; more than 85,000.

For now, we must persevere and remain patient. For the sake of our friends, family and others, we must continue to wear masks and practice social distancing while encouraging and praying for one another.

As Paul stated, “We exult in hope of the glory of God. And not only this, but we also exult in our tribulations, knowing that tribulation brings about perseverance;  and perseverance, proven character; and proven character, hope; and hope does not disappoint, because the love of God has been poured out within our hearts through the Holy Spirit who was given to us.” (Romans 5:1-5).

(Bill Tinsley has served as pastor, church planter and missions executive. In 2009, he launched the Tinsley Center, LLC to promote authentic faith that changes lives. He lives in Fort Collins, Colorado, with his wife, Jackie. Email Bill at bill@tinsleycenter.com.)

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