Rediscover intentionality in grief

By Lilly Price | Reporter

The coronavirus pandemic is an event completely unprecedented for our generation. Almost overnight, it has turned our world upside down. As a journalist, I love the news and learning about what is going on in the world. But for the first time, what is happening on the news is affecting me and so many other college students on a daily basis. These days are filled with so much uncertainty, so much disappointment.

As I’ve reflected on what this pandemic and social distancing means for young people — those graduating from high school or college — there is room for both grief and joy. I don’t think this means that we have to force ourselves to find a silver lining when it seems that one doesn’t exist, but rather we need to give ourselves the time to process the disappointment.

Ecclesiastes 3 says: “For everything there is a season, and a time for every matter under heaven: a time to be born and a time to die; a time to plant and a time to pluck up what is planted; a time to kill and a time to heal.”

The Father understands that not every season of life is filled with peace and ease, and it’s so vital for us to look to this verse for inspiration in the present time. There is a time for breaking down, there is also a time for building up. My hope is that we as students truly take the time necessary to process our disappointments so that we may be open to the joy that follows — a joy that is possible when we acknowledge that our contentment doesn’t have to be tied to circumstances.

During our original spring break, I found myself thankful for the break, but hesitant at the thought of returning to school. I remember thinking, while at work, how I would love to have another week to reset and prepare to finish the semester. During my break, my phone greeted me with the abrupt news about our spring break extension and online classes. I was filled with mixed emotions. On the one hand, a strange thankfulness that my unspoken desires had somehow found a solution, but also a concern at the circumstances that were causing this extra break.

But I think that accepting a mixture of feelings is the only way to move forward in this uncertain time. To some degree, I’ve observed the damage that social distancing is doing to people’s lives, but also the opportunity it has provided to truly seek intentionality.

When life is normal, we tend to take things for granted. Our schedules, health, family and friends just blend into the routine. But this virus has reminded everyone that nothing is promised, not even tomorrow. We get used to being around people because it’s convenient. We complain about things in our lives because they get monotonous. But it’s when those things are taken away that we realize the value they always held.

Now is the time to call friends, remind them of our love, spend extra time with our family, and not waste a moment. Because when this is all over, I hope that we will come out with a greater appreciation for all the little, monotonous, regular things that make life so beautiful.