By Conference Minister Diane Weible
If you attended a week-long camp as a child (or, have served as a counselor or director at one as an adult), you know what I mean when I talk about “the Wednesday problem.”
I remember this especially in relation to my favorite church camp growing up—Camp Aurora. We arrived on Sunday afternoon, filled with anticipation—there was so much to do to keep us busy and so much to experience. We discovered new friends and old friends we had not seen in a year.
By Wednesday, however, we were tired and a little bit homesick. The week suddenly felt long, and we wondered if we were ever going to make it to the last day so we could return home where our bed was soft, and the shower was hot.
Unless we were brand new to camping, Wednesday was hard, but we knew if we got through it, we would be ok. And, sure enough, Thursday and then Friday came and suddenly it was time to go home. I didn’t want to leave, and I cried as I said goodbye to my friends.
Pandemic is a lot like the Wednesday Problem. (The one difference, of course, is that few of us will make it to the end of pandemic and be sorry to leave our homes and return to church and being able to visit family and friends.)
We are in the middle of Pandemic. We know that Saturday is going to come but that doesn’t change the fact that it is Wednesday. We are tired. We are grieving our plans to see family and travel that have been interrupted. We don’t know what the holidays will be like. We are facing illness or illness of family and church members. We are afraid of getting sick or making someone else ill. Many of us are living where we work and the newness of which\ we experienced those first few weeks has definitely worn off.
The thing I have always appreciated about the Wednesday Problem is the camp counselors who reminded me that it is normal to feel this way at the mid-point of a week-long camp. It’s ok to be in this moment. They would remind me to drink water, get some rest and don’t try to push myself. Slow down if you need to, they said. Be gentle with yourself.
I was on a call a few days ago when someone observed that we are not reminding one another to be gentle with ourselves in this time. We are not offering grace to ourselves and may even have a hard time offering grace to others.
The best way to get through the Wednesday Problem is to be gentle with ourselves and those around us and to be quick to share an abundance of light, love and grace. I believe it was the abundance of grace that I received in those days at camp that made Thursday and Friday that much more special. I believe it was also what made Saturday such a hard day as I said good–bye to my camp family (even as I looked forward to that comfortable bed and hot shower).
My Friends, it’s a hard season. We are tired. Go gently and feel the love encircling you—love of your siblings in Christ and, of course, God’s love. Wednesday will not last forever.