I’m sitting here writing this in a half-packed dorm room, listening to a Spotify playlist called “Life Sucks”, and staring out my window to fat snowflakes falling on Central Quad. Yesterday it was 60 degrees and sunny. I guess even the weather is feeling blue about the recent series of unfortunate events.
Like many college students across the United States, yesterday I received an email from my University president with the heartbreaking news that the rest of the semester will be online and students are strongly encouraged to be completely moved out of their on and off-campus homes by March 27 due to the COVID-19 pandemic. All campus organizations and events have been cancelled for the remainder of the semester, and more and more facilities and restaurants have been adjusting their hours or closing. As a senior, this announcement hurt.
The effects of this virus are felt on a much larger scale than Oxford city limits. Businesses and consumers are feeling the financial strain, professional and collegiate sports tournaments have been called off, a European travel ban has been issued, and even certain dioceses of the Catholic Church have relieved holy days of obligation for Sunday masses over the next few weeks.
I am sad, frustrated, and emotionally drained. In my lifetime, I have never been old enough to feel the affects of living in a period of so much “unknown” in the world.
This year, I set a Lenten goal to deepen in my prayer life, and I’m going to be honest, I haven’t seen or felt a clouds-parting, sunlight streaming down difference. Yesterday, I asked God to send me a sign that things were going to be ok. Here’s what He’s sent me so far:
- Last night, despite my sorority’s annual 70’s themed date party being cancelled, my friends and I dressed up and laughed and enjoyed a beer or two on the porch watching the sun set.
- Ate late night Bagel and Deli (a Miami legend) for what could be the last time.
- I woke up to the birds chirping on the branches outside my window.
And today, I realized that we are less than a month away from Easter Sunday. So much of the world has felt the affects of Coronavirus the most over this Lenten season. Like Jesus, alone and fasting in the desert, we are advised to practice “social distancing”. And by “we”, I mean literally the whole world.