I’m taking this sweet girl back to college tomorrow, and uou all know how much I love to see her go. My daughter Grace is many things to me but in this corona-world, she has been my walking buddy. We’ve literally walked hundreds of miles in Lake Forest Open Lands and the Middlefork Savanna since she came home in March.
Lately, we’ve spent a lot of time talking about what this coming year will look like for her on campus. Even though she’s starting her junior year, she thinks it will feel a lot like being a freshman again because so much will feel different: where she lives, what her classes look like, how she works out, what she eats. It will all be new again.
So on our walks, we’ve been focusing a lot on the role the virtue of grace will play in all of this. Her fellow students will have to give their university a ton of this as they navigate having a vibrant student body on a campus that’s been redefined by rules and restrictions. And they’ll need to have it with each other as tensions will be running at a much louder decibel with so much uncertainty surrounding them.
But mostly they will need to show grace to themselves. These college kids are the ones who are going to demonstrate what it’s like to move forward in a world with this virus. They’re carefully venturing back into their former lives to see if the can pick up any pieces from what used to feel normal. It isn’t going to be easy, but they need to be with their people, in their worlds.
I was thinking the other day, that one of the cruelest things about this pandemic is that when we’ve needed our support systems the most–our families, friends, churches, workouts, whatever they may be–they have been stripped away. Without these supports, I feel like most of us have been reduced to a surviving mode, not a thriving one. Even though we do our best to be everything our children and significant others need, it’s just not possible. I know that for myself to be able to grow, I need to go to work, and get to mass, and safely workout with my fellow yogis to keep everything in check. And my children need to be at school and be with their people–whether it be a teacher, a coach, or a roommate.
These beginnings aren’t going to be perfect out of the gate and the concerns about them happening are real. Yet, in my heart, I know we need to start taking these steps slowly and safely. And as we do, we need to believe that everyone is doing their best and coming from a genuinely good place. That is when the virtue of grace will truly work its magic.
Now it’s time to get back to packing the minivan for our college adventure tomorrow. Happy weekend!
P.S. Here’s a little prayer I found that I love to share with my fellow college moms:
God, please be with these students as they go where they do not know. As they seek to grow in knowledge, we ask that they grow in faith. As they start to conquer the world, we ask that that they conquer their fears. As they strive to find their place, we pray that they find you. Please go where we cannot, protect when we cannot, give strength when we cannot, and bring them safely home. Amen.