You know, I never thought that I would end up at seminary. However God had something else in store. As I look back on that experience, I am reminded of the many blessings that occurred in the midst of the struggles. My first year at seminary, I remember sitting in a class and finally having the courage to speak up. However I was immediately shot down for what I said. In a lot of ways, I felt embarrassed and found myself spending that first semester simply sitting in class not saying anything. I remember many of classmates urging me to speak up, saying that want to hear what I had to say. After awhile,I did finally speak up. (The person who shot me down did apologize. In fact, they felt horrible for what had happened that first week of classes. The irony is that we became very good friends.) My seminary journey was more than easy for me. I struggled with systematics. In fact, I took the class three times and it wasnt until the last time that I finally felt like I had made a breakthrough. The cool thing was that my friends were beginning to see it too. Seminary was definetely a place of learning and growing for me. It also was a place where I felt a part of this wonderful community. And as my friend Mark stated in his blog, those friendships are some of the strongest and most trusted. I absolutely agree! I don’t know where I would be without those people in my life!
Since I choose to get a Master of Arts degree, I ended up with several different classes. There was the class I started with and the class I graduated with. Now the class I graduated with is important to me and they are my friends. However because of my struggles during my first year of seminary, I feel that the bond with the class I started with is a little stronger! In a lot of ways, I think they understand who I am better than most! So this past week, I decided to drive to Iowa as they were meeting for their 3 year reunion. I just couldn’t stay away. I hadn’t seen most of them since before their internships because I was gone when they returned etc which was difficult for me. I never really got the opportunity to say my goodbyes! It was so great to see all of them! I got to spend time with their children which for me is so great. I was in heaven; playing and laughing with them just being who God created me to be…no strings attached! I do wish I would have had the opportunity to sit down and have a conversation with all of them…to ask how life is, how ministry is going, etc.
Thursday morning I spent the morning hanging out together, had lunch, and then it was time for me to say goodbye! I hate saying goodbyes! I am such an emotional person. I began to say my goodbyes and the tears began to trickle down my face. As I looked back at the seminary and then walked to my car, I couldnt help but think of this group of people who I had just left behind, this group of people who I love and respect more than words can say, this group of people who I feel so connected too.
Thank you for your friendship, my friends, and may God be with you until we meet again!