Celebrating life amidst the pandemic

Easter weekend not only celebrates the resurrection of Jesus but also gives many Hope College students a long weekend to relax and rejuvenate before finishing out the last few weeks of classes. The three weeks of adjusting to online classes between spring break and now passed quickly for me, but I’m certain the experiences of others vary drastically. Absolutely everyone is facing different circumstances and adjusting to this new life that those in Michigan will have to endure until April 30.

I think one of the reasons the weeks have passed quickly for me is the strict routine that my one-year-old baby, Teddy, enforces daily. While some people spiral during quarantine, turning to cutting their own bangs or staying up until 4 a.m. every night binging Netflix, I don’t really have the option of losing routine or doing things out of boredom, at least in the traditional sense. Life to my one-year-old baby hasn’t changed much; he still gets up at eight in the morning and expects food and love, and I have to provide it even though I’m also dealing with the same restrictions and stressors that the government’s pandemic-sanctioned rules create. 

Teddy’s oblivious innocence to what is happening around him can be beautiful. It helps me have faith that things will change toward the better, and that life will return to what it once was, perhaps with some improvements. But for me (and many other parents), staying home all day with my baby brings a lot of difficulties along with the joys. There is no longer childcare for the time I need to spend in class, and while Teddy’s father can typically watch him, I still often end up on Zoom with a baby in my arms or stuck in my room with him banging on the door and not understanding why I’m ignoring him. Have you tried concentrating during an exam when there’s a crying, fussy baby just a room away?

The even more difficult thing for Teddy to experience is not being able to see his Geegee, his great-grandmother who used to come several times a week to watch him and provide time for classes, homework and self-care. She has visited to see Teddy through our front window, and he knocks on it and tries to get closer to her but can’t, and he has no idea why. How can this situation be explained to a child? And how are adults supposed to process it anyway, especially young adults or graduating seniors whose expectations have now completely flipped about the job markets they were planning to enter, or the big moves they were about to make?

While this is only my experience during quarantine, I am positive that many other people could share similar stories about their younger sibling, or struggling with finding time to work in their essential job while taking online classes, or working from home with children who can no longer go to school. The list of experiences and situations like these could go on and on, but one thing remains the same. There is not a better time than now to try to understand one another and provide what support and joy we can in the many complex ways that life is beginning to change. 

Easter is supposed to be a time of coming together to celebrate the redeeming life of Jesus Christ, but this year many families spent their Easter Sunday separated, and some mourned the loss of relatives in this pandemic. Despite the circumstances surrounding this year’s Easter, I chose to celebrate with my family and enjoy some sense of normalcy among the turbulent times we are currently experiencing. What better time to remember and praise the love that Jesus offers through the sacrifice of his own life than now?

Before eating our Easter dinner, my family prayed for the many people whose lives and livelihoods have been changed drastically because of the government’s response to the COVID-19 pandemic. We prayed for workers’ safety while thanking God for the chance to gather safely in our home. In this time of confusion, we prayed for clarity, and I prayed for God to give me the strength to remain gracious through the many steep challenges that continue to build during this pandemic. It is easy to spiral into the “what ifs” of what could have been and what could become of life with or without COVID-19, but we are here and now, and there are still incredible things to be celebrated, like the resurrection! 

Since I am the Lifestyle Editor for the Anchor, I would like to suggest that you should take a moment to be thankful for something or someone in your life today and to allow yourself to be present and take advantage of the time you have right now to live in a way you never would have imagined or maybe wanted. Explore what opportunities you have to make yours or someone else’s life a little bit better. Especially to those of you without children: use this large amount of free time to your advantage, because you don’t have the responsibility of a child occupying your time. You have a great chance right now to do something new even in a difficult time. Reach out to a friend for conversation, try a new hobby or go for a run. Fight back against the boredom or anxiety that may be ruling your life, and try to find space to be grateful for this life in a period of darkness.

Click here to view the Corona Chronicles StoryMap

Megan Grimes (‘20) was the Lifestyle editor at the Anchor during the 2019-2020 academic year. She has a biology and English double major and computer science minor at Hope, and she spends most of her free time playing with her 1-year-old son, Teddy. Running is one of her favorite activities, along with any other outdoor activity, reading, writing, yoga and spending time with friends and family. She loves to share people’s stories with the belief that hearing more about other people’s experiences can help you better navigate your own. After Hope, she intends to find a job in science writing to help better communicate science through story and quality writing.

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