Beauty and compassion in a quarantined world

This is a different article than I usually write. Rather than go off on a policy I disagree with or tear into the actions of the president, I want to talk about my experience during this troubling time, and the things I am grateful for. Like many of you, my life has been fundamentally altered by the COVID-19 pandemic, but in the midst of all the chaos, I have had time to find true beauty and compassion in a quarantined world.

For those of you who do not know already, I am currently still residing on campus. Due to circumstances far out of my control, it was too much of a health risk to leave campus than it was to stay. And now that I am approaching a month on my own, I can say with some certainty that I greatly miss true human interaction. Like all of you, all my classes are completely online. In fact, only one class even meets via zoom. The rest are simply clerical work. In this sense, the professors are not at fault. They are attempting to figure out a situation that no one in our lifetime has ever had to deal with before. So I do commend the teachers out there who are working diligently to give the Concordia education in the midst of this crisis. But I am also saddened at what myself and my senior colleagues have lost. When I found out that commencement was postponed, I wept. Gone was the senior banquet I had so looked forward to. Gone was the commencement concert, where the seniors who had dedicated their career at Concordia to making beautiful music and would receive the symbolic red rose to wear. Gone was walking through the line of brightly robed professors who cheered the accomplishment that took four years of blood, sweat, and tears. I fear there will never be a sense of closure, something I am sure many of my friends out there can agree with. With everything that we have lost, it is easy to despair.

But it is in times of strife that the true nature of man is known. I tend to be a cynic, a terrible habit that consumes my mentality. I can be very callous and cold, seeing only the bad rather than the good. And in that mindset, I tend to think very poorly of man as a whole. But the kindness that people have shown in this pandemic have begun to change my perspective. I celebrated my 22nd birthday in my apartment alone. And while that may sound depressing, there was still grace and beauty. My mother reached out to Nichole of Nichole’s Bakery, and explained my situation. Not only did Nicole bake me a beautiful chocolate cake, she delivered it to my apartment. I have been able to stay connected with friends in the choir, as we have a zoom meeting every Monday to simply enjoy each other’s presence. I play Overwatch with my brother almost every night, and I call my parents usually once a day at this point. In the depths of sorrow, life still finds a way. There are days where it is still hard to get out of bed (usually around 11:30), but every day brings a new adventure, and every night brings us closer to the end of this plague.

So where does this leave us? That, my friends, is entirely up to you. It is ok to take time to grieve what we have lost, but at some point, we must move on. We cannot allow sorrow to consume, for if it does, is it truly a life worth living? Take this time to reflect upon yourself. Start a new hobby (mine is cooking). Reach out to old friends and tell them about your life, however mundane. Tell your loved ones how much they mean to you. The day will come when the sun will come up, and the virus will be gone. On that day, I look forward to celebrating with you all. God’s blessings upon you all in this troubling time. May you find peace and prosperity in your life. 

Soli Deo Gloria. 

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