Today was the last day of the academic year at Zomba Theological College, always a highly charged occasion – especially for finalists completing their studies. This year it was even more emotional as it has been a year that sometimes looked as if it would never reach its end.
Only two weeks after the second semester started it came abruptly to a halt in March as Malawi closed all schools as part of its strategy to counter the spread of coronavirus. For long months the College was deserted while the students waited at home wondering what the future would hold.
I have a special admiration for the 25 final year students who faced disruption to their lives at so many levels. Yet when the College finally got the go-ahead to reopen in September they all returned and applied themselves to the rigour of an intensive semester. It has taken extra determination and application for them to successfully complete their course.
This meant that the end-of-term rituals had added poignancy. We had all wondered whether the day would ever come, which made it all the more special when it finally did. As the coronavirus has wrecked so many plans perhaps we learn to be truly thankful for things that previously seemed routine. And to live gratefully is good for the soul.