My name is Jacob Littlefield and I’m from Burleson, Texas, a suburb of Fort Worth. I’m a second semester senior at Arkansas Tech University majoring in English with dual minors in journalism and emergency administration and management.
On March 25, my hometown was put under stay-at-home orders due to COVID-19. In all honesty, they didn’t seem to change much. By the time the order came, most nonessential businesses had already shut their doors, restaurants across the state had gone to takeout only and most people were only leaving their homes to get groceries and basic necessities.
A couple of months ago, I was on the phone with my little brother, a 17-year-old junior in high school. I can’t tell you exactly where I was, what day it was or the exact details of the call. What I can tell you is that it probably lasted only two or three minutes and was filled mostly with awkward silence, the same as pretty much all of our phone calls had been the past three years.
Why wouldn’t it be the norm though? When I got to college, I threw myself into everything I could find. I got heavily involved in one of the Christian ministries on campus, worked, was involved in multiple registered student organizations for varying amounts of time, explored new hobbies and interests and hung out with friends a lot.
Do I regret being involved in so many things? No, of course not. All of these things were, in and of themselves, good things. I grew in my relationship with Jesus and learned a lot about friendship and life in general because of them.
No matter how good those things are, they came with a cost. Because I was a part of the cult of overcommitment, I let my relationship with my brother fall to the wayside under the belief that I was always needed somewhere else. I don’t think I realized that until my senior year and, at that point, my chances to really spend time with my brother were gone.
Don’t mistake what I’m saying, college is an amazing experience and I’m so thankful that God has blessed me with getting to receive an education and meet so many amazing people over the years. Like every other graduating senior, I’ve had to come to terms with the fact that college, like most things in life, come to an end eventually. Life moves on and it’s not necessarily a bad thing.
Honestly, I don’t know what’s going to happen with my town’s stay-at-home orders when they expire on April 30. They may get extended. The state of the world may look entirely different then. I just don’t know.
What I do know is that Philippians 4:6 says, “Do not be anxious about anything, but in every situation, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus” (New International Version).
Regardless of the situation, I know that God is good and loves us all. I’ve seen that more and more in the small things the past few weeks.
Most of the nights this past week my brother and I have sat in his room for hours and played “Call of Duty” together. We haven’t had mindset altering, deep conversations. We’ve yelled and laughed into ridiculously late hours of the night and enjoyed each other’s company.
It would be wildly inappropriate for me to say that the craziness of the world has been a blessing in my life. What I will say though is that I never would have gotten to reconnect with my brother had it not been for COVID-19, which has been a blessing from God in spite of the madness.