We ran out the doors March 6 without looking back. We were ready for spring break and a time to break out of our mundane schedule.
Now we are missing our mundane schedule.
We didn’t know that we should’ve hugged our friends closer, remembered to say goodbye and thank you to those professors who had encouraged us all semester and taken the time to take in all the sites and sounds of campus, reminiscing on our first day of college as a scared freshman.
Some seniors, like me, weren’t prepared that that day would be the last time we stood inside the walls of an ACU classroom as a student. We didn’t know it was the last day we might get to see those professors or be present with some of our classmates.
Most of us chose ACU for a reason. When I ask people why they chose ACU, the consensus to that question during my time here has been almost unanimous: “Because of the community.”
In some form or way, ACU’s people drew us in. It’s a unique thing when a university can make you feel known, seen and valued. What makes ACU, “ACU” is the people and the relationships built.
Although, ACU has done a great job of keeping close communication through Zoom calls and many encouraging emails and letters to its students, no one can argue that it’s not different. It is a strange time. Everyone is going through a major life transition. Everyone has been effected in a different way. No one is alone in that.
We are all in this together, and I think that is what ACU has tried to tell us from the beginning.
Let’s allow this to be a time of continued learning and growth. Let us learn from this abrupt change to not take for granted our “boring” routine of too much coffee, walks across campus, long classroom lectures and crowds of people swarming into Chapel. Let us learn to be people of gratitude in every season, including our current one.
I encourage you to look at the things right now, in this season, that you are thankful for, instead of fixating on the undesirable circumstances.
Instead of focusing on the days as a college student that I lost, I will be thankful for the days as a college student I got to have. Instead of focusing on the things I didn’t find on my list at the grocery store, I will be thankful that I have the resources and access to go to the grocery store. Instead of focusing on how I should be at my college house with all my roommates, I will be thankful for the extra time I have to spend with family.
As Randy Harris, instructor of ministry, Bible and missions, reminded us during his sermon on the first ACU livestreamed Chapel service, there are three groups of people right now: people that are inconvenienced, people that are experiencing genuine hardship and people that are experiencing genuine grief. Harris said, “I want those of us who are inconvenienced to get a little perspective, not to forget those for whom this time is a real hardship and not to forget those for whom it is a time of great grief.”
We should also be encouraged and challenged by the uplifting stories of people who have taken the opportunity during this season to help others in need. May we learn from their example. I have seen people delivering groceries to an elderly neighbor, offering financial support to those who find themselves unable to pay rent or fill up their gas tank due to layoffs, providing recommendations or secondary shelter for those who find themselves back in an abusive home environment, showing support to medical and pharmaceutical workers who are working tirelessly to supply the demand and much more.
Let us be inspired by these acts of Christian love and service. Despite the originally negative impacts and disappointing circumstances, ACU has prepared us to be a community of light in the world, not just at our university. Now it is our time to shine.