So, five years ago last August, my seminary career started when I arrived on Campus at UD. That visit was the first of 10 “intensives” – compressed classwork that start with 2 weeks of “preload” reading and assignments followed by 12 weeks worth of lectures crammed into 2 weeks on campus. We finish with 2 weeks worth of postload, usually writing assignments. 10 trips to Iowa later, I’ve completed the required 30% of my degree on campus. And I’ve learned some interesting theological AND non-theological things along the way.
In honor of completing the 10th travel portion of my MDiv here are the 10 Things I Didn’t Expect to Learn for/in Seminary:
10. You actually can find good winter boots in Orlando. Norway in Epcot. These Helly Hansen boots kept my feet warm and dry tromping through the snow, just as they promised.
9. It makes sense that there are so many Inuit words for snow. Just this January, I saw snow that looked/felt like powdered sugar, glitter, flour, sand, cotton candy and slurpee.
8. Two weeks in a hotel room is do-able, especially with a mini-fridge. Just remember to stock up on paper plates & towels if you are going to eat in. Bath towels aren’t great for wiping fingers.
7. Corn really does get extremely tall (as high as an elephant’s eye) and
6. You really can lose sight of people in a corn field. The rows are planted pretty tightly and all those leaves…
5. Iowa is a lot like Oklahoma… rolling hills on the eastern edge, flatlands most everywhere else, and the biggest city in the middle.
4. I really am a dork/nerd/geek. The act of cramming theology, history, Bible trivia, two ancient languages, church polity and everything else academic wasn’t sufficient. I had to add student government, recruiting and representing my school at denominational functions. Because I might meet other people just as geeked out by all this as I am. Like comic-con for church. Yeah.
3. I don’t have this patience thing figured out yet. I don’t guess I needed seminary to teach me that, but having occasional contact with people over a five year span really lets you see where those rough patches are…
2. Family is messy. And when one part of that mess disappears for a stretch, it doesn’t get cleaner. It just changes shape. I am so thankful that we are a multi-generational mess and that my hubs is the sort of dad that takes the job seriously.
1. The people I have spent two weeks at a time with for five years are the ones who know stories that I’ve never told people who live across town. They are the ones I want praying with and for me. The ones I call to look at the stars together by phone. The ones I can laugh and cry with and not bother with wiping away tears of joy or sorrow. And they were strangers 10 trips to Iowa ago.