I was sitting in my 9 am ballet class when the news broke. Fear and anxiety rose within me. It couldn't be true. I pulled out my phone and read Brown’s official statement on the school website. I turned into a puddle of tears. This was the end of my time in Rhode Island. I cried all day. It was awful. Each tear held a memory I had made and was hoping to make during my last couple of months at Brown. I am a senior and as a type A perfectionist this was not on my grantasticular list of things to do before graduating.
When I got home I struggled to maintain any sense of joy or happiness. The days passed painstakingly slow. Everything reminded me that I wasn’t at Brown. I would wake up and realize I was not in my cozy apartment with my personal coffee maker and blender to make my morning shake. I would join my family around the dinner table at the end of the day with people who were normally thousands of miles away. I would sit there and cry. It was pitiful. But, I couldn’t help it. Everything in me was telling me I wasn’t supposed to be here. I was supposed to be at Brown. My body was in Oregon, but my mind was thousands of miles away with the life I created for myself in Rhode Island. I was on the phone with my friends from school 24/7. I set up my room to look just like my room in Rhode Island. I even considered living on east coast time, but that’s where I had to draw the line.
However, amidst all of the inner turmoil I was experiencing God was at work. A couple days into being back home I picked up a book I was reading for discipleship, Interior Freedom by Jacques Philippe. God’s timing could not have been more perfect. I was living enslaved to the feeling of hopelessness and despair, but this book revealed to me that there was an alternative option. The crux of the book is this. We have no control over what happens to us, but as Christians we maintain within ourselves, “a space of freedom that nobody can take away, because God is its source and guarantee.” While reading this passage I asked myself: what does your space look like, Summer? I realized I was completely neglecting it. While continuing to read through this book I began to see the effects of COVID-19 in my life differently. Instead of viewing my situation as a burden, I started seeing it as a golden opportunity to exercise my interior freedom that exists because of my relationship with the Lord.
Summer Brunoe is a senior concentrating in health and human biology and plans to pursue a career in medicine. She sent us this post from from central Oregon.