COVID fatigue

The past two years have been difficult for so many of us.

When February turned to March last year, few of us had any notion of what was in store. I was all set to fly to North Carolina to teach a session of political philosophy to students at Southeastern Baptist Seminary. I had my lectures printed out and was ready for what promised to be a stimulating experience, with bright students eager for the conversations we would be having. My plane ticket had been purchased, and I was busily packing for several days away from home.

That all changed suddenly. The following week quarantines were imposed across the globe as the COVID-19 coronavirus made its way from east Asia into Europe, North America and elsewhere. At that point we could scarcely imagine how long the lockdowns would last. Given that the incubation period for the virus was thought to be two weeks, I thought that would be the length of the lockdowns. Of course, that was not what happened.

Since then we have experienced several waves of COVID infection. Each of us knows family members and friends who have been hospitalized with it. One of my sisters suffered a very mild version in January of this year, while my elderly mother-in-law died in December shortly after contracting the illness in a long-term care facility. I know people who have spent weeks in hospital fighting for their lives. In the meantime, many of us who have been COVID-free have been working from home, venturing out cautiously to the supermarket, or ordering groceries online for delivery.

I would love to have gone to Germany and Finland in November, according to plans made earlier last year. I might have returned to Brazil to deliver a lecture or two. But, no, I remain in my office in the basement of our home, speaking to people all over the world via one of the many online communication platforms.

‘How long, O LORD?’

Quite honestly, I am weary. The past nearly two years have been difficult for so many of us. Our daughter lost three of her grandparents, and we’ve not been able to visit my widowed mother during that time. Last month we drove up to spend a few hours with a dear friend who co-owns a brewery north of Toronto. We thoroughly enjoyed ourselves, sitting on a patio drinking beer in the sunshine. A taste of normality went down along with the drafts.

In my current work with the Psalms, I have noticed how many contain this plaintive phrase: “How long, O LORD?” (Psalms 6, 13, 35, 74, 79, &c.) This question has been on so many of our lips over the past year and a half. I feel numb these days, as if I’m watching all this happen to someone else. I’ve wept very little, somewhat to my surprise. Perhaps this is a natural coping mechanism that has surfaced to enable me to get through each day. Patience is not something which comes easily to me. But patience is what we all need at present.

Last month our family finally received our second doses of the Pfizer vaccine. Side effects were few, other than – in my case – stiffness in the upper back and neck, along with a slight increase in emotional volatility. We are grateful that God has given his human image-bearers the ability to develop such powerful means to combat a pandemic.

In the meantime, we wait. We wait for enough people to be vaccinated that life might return to normal. And we pray. Our prayers take the form of petition that God might end the pandemic and thanksgiving for the inroads that have been made in mitigating the worst of its effects.


  • David Koyzis

    David Koyzis is a Global Scholar with Global Scholars Canada. He is the author of the award-winning Political Visions and Illusions (2nd ed., 2019) and We Answer to Another: Authority, Office, and the Image of God (2014). He has written a column for Christian Courier since 1990.

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