I know nothing about physical therapy but several years ago got to observe a pediatric physical therapist at work. I sat in a corner while a little girl played across the room on one of those plastic playsets for 30 minutes. At the end of the session, the physical therapist turned to the girl’s mother to explain what she saw. She stunned me with her description of what seemed like a million details I hadn’t detected, a diagnosis, and a prescription of rehabilitative exercises for them to do at home. I don’t know what I’d expected, but I was amazed at her ability to expound on issues she saw from the child’s gait to overcompensating to transitions between movements. I still don’t have the vocabulary to describe it. I just saw a little girl playing, while this physical therapist was trained to see so much more. I was in awe.
Taking seminary classes feels much the same.
I began taking classes in the fall as a feasibility study and to test the waters to see if enrolling in a program would be sustainable with work, affordable, and if I’d find the courses interesting. The answer to the first was yes; the second, yes with assistance; and the third, more than I even thought possible!
As people have asked how I’m enjoying class, I excitedly spew out some combination of adjectives such as wondrous, magical, fantastic, amazing. Even then, my words don’t do it justice. I come home giddy with a sort of theology buzz. I grin like a girl in love. Tonight, I was even skipping around my kitchen making dinner because HOW INCREDIBLE IS IT I GET TO LEARN THESE THINGS?! Or—to use one of my favorite analogies—I feel like I’ve been sprinkled with Mario dust. You get the idea, I’m completely elated.
The past two weekends I’ve gotten to take intensive classes: one on Jeremiah, my favorite book, and one on covenant theology, which I went in not sure what to expect. Each class gave me that feeling of observing the little girl playing and then being floored in the presence of a skillful physical therapist at work. How’d they see that? How can I see those things too???
It’s funny, my covenant theology professor said that understanding covenant theology is kind of like wearing colorblind correcting glasses for the first time. I think he’s onto something.
I have nothing profound to say, except that I’m writing this as a memorial to two weekends of intensely thought-provoking and devotion-inspiring classes—something I never said in grad school (yes, it was interesting and I’m glad I went and I learned a ton, I’m not knocking it, but it doesn’t give me that seminary glow). But I got out of class 4 hours and 20 minutes ago and I’m still smiling. When I came home and told one of my housemates about some of what I learned, I felt like a breathless little girl telling her parent about all the cool things they learned at school that day tripping over their words. I also suspect that one day I’ll take a class less thrilling and need this reminder that taking class is a total privilege, and pursued worshipfully, such a boon for my soul.
“The unfolding of your words gives light; it imparts understanding to the simple.”