Unexpected Blessings


This past March, I looked forward to returning home for spring break. Many thoughts crossed my mind during the car ride from Abilene to Garland, Texas; grand plans to relax, recuperate, and read my untouched textbooks danced in my mind. Yet an unexpected surprise shook the world during that fateful spring: COVID-19. Despite the chaos that ensued all over America, I could not help but feel slightly at peace—at least I was with my family. 

I was in disbelief when McMurry University announced that campus would be closed for the remainder of the semester. It was not until my dad and I retrieved my belongings from my dorm that it started to settle in. I would have to finish my courses from home! How would this affect my grammar test? How would I complete my final sewing project? How am I going to finish all this work with two little kids running around the house? 

I remembered why I came to McMurry in the first place. I was excited to have closer connections with my professors, to solely focus on my passion for theatre and writing without domestic distraction—to experience freedom. 

As my dad said during the first week of quarantine, I had to “learn how to be part of a family again.” I was simultaneously stressed and relieved. I may not have had the freedom of campus life, but I wasn’t alone anymore. 

I got to share a room with my three sisters again, even if it meant earlier bedtimes for all of us. I got to eat dinner with my family again, even if I had to wash the dishes right after. I got to go to experience church with my family again, even if it meant that we had to watch it online.

I was retaught the importance of considering others, of cleaning up messes as soon as they occur, and of God’s presence in the most unlikely of situations. I felt content and looked forward to take these lessons to university.

Returning to campus was much stranger than I imagined it would be. A couple years prior, I was too busy to get homesick. Now I miss the yelling, laughing, and singing that rings through my house more than ever. My dorm feels too quiet. 

Constant mask-wearing is also more difficult than I imagined. From the constant fogging up, to the slipping nose grips, and chafing ears. Glasses and masks do not mix. Climbing three flights of stairs made me winded already; doing so in a mask is near suffocating. Chewing a breath mint was once a sweet, fresh treat for me. Now I reconsider whether I should have a mint during or after class lest I be subject to the cool, irritating sensation of menthol breath blowing into my eyes.

Despite these new heartaches and annoyances, I am still grateful for McMurry’s reopening. I am doing the things that I want to do again: writing, performing, and learning. The COVID-19 outbreak is posing many challenges for our country, but it brought some unexpected blessings to my life. I was given the opportunity to reconnect and indulge in the love of my family. I can only hope that the 2020-21 school year brings more unexpected blessings.