Sunday, September 2, 2007

It is finished! It is just beginning

Summer Greek ended Friday and I have now come home, introduced myself to my family again, and caught up on my sleep, my laundry and my snail mail. But rejoice with me- I made it! Prepare Ye and I were both convinced that we had pretty much messed up on the final ( which of course is closed book). The practical 43 year old in me sarcastically wondered when there would ever be a theological emergency requiring me to immediately translate in Greek from memory in order to save the day. And of course for those of you who have experienced the Croy book, I think he is need of serious pharmacotherapy. Sentences involving dead children, dead holy sisters and evil sinners start to get a little unsettling after a while. Joking aside, I LOVE translating Greek and envision conjuring up the spirit of the time when the texts were written that make up our New Testament. The subtle nuances are fascinating. Learning how to detect the true emphasis of a passage, which is sometimes different than I might have thought is thrilling. It feels vital.
If you are not familiar with the Croy book, say thanks to God and I do not recommend it for light reading.
On a lighter note, the intensity of the summer Greek two week class that jams what other longer classes would cover into a tiny stretch of time is a great way to bond in common adversity with others. We are all in this together is the thought, and, as the Marines put it, we will leave no man behind.
Indeed, we did all make it, and were sorted into two classes for fall. Much to my surprise and to the surprise of Prepare Ye, we placed into the advanced class.
Each day at the opening of class one of the students was chosen to lead prayer. On the day of the big test when we met for the review of the test, one of my classmates, after offering the prayer, closed with leading us all in the prayer Jesus taught us. It brought tears to my eyes as I listened to the instant sense of peace come across the room.
When I came to campus for Greek, I was more than a little stressed about being away from my family for two weeks. As I have said, every one else comes and goes on trips, but I am always the one at home ready to receive them back. To have this role switched was unsettling. Having my husband email to say that he never realized how many little things I do that he never realized was gratifying but bittersweet.
I texted the Chicks and emailed the family while I was away, but while this was somewhat of a respite, you know you just cannot hug an electronic device ( at least not safely).
I often believe that the things in life we experience are a chance to see what we have not seen before and give us tools for the future. This experience allowed me to greater appreciate how people who travel away from family for work regularly must feel in the absences. My father was one of these people, yet when he came home after sometimes weeks on the road, there was always some little trinket he had picked up, and even spending the day with him running errands was time I cherished as a child. I never felt that he was absent from my life. He once had a flight canceled because of snow and he rented the last rental car to drive 12 hours in bad weather to get home for Christmas Eve. I know he must have been anguished and exhausted. But by God's grace he made it to be with us.
And, minus the 13 hours in snow, so it was for me, as I packed my car before the final so I could leave right after class. I had gone to the bookstore and picked up trinkets. And I pulled into the driveway in time to get to the first fall football game where the Lutheran Chicks are in the band. I caught the pregame show. With tears in my eyes I was glad to be home.
My parents have just left to go home to FLA, and we went to church to hear LC#1 cantor, and it is 18 years ago that my beloved and I walked down the aisle together. Last night we celebrated LC#2's birthday 10 days early so we could do it as a family with my parents. A friend of mine has an old Lincoln Towncar stretch limo complete with steer horns on the hood which I decorated and drove us in to go out for Chinese- her favorite food. A spontaneous idea I had that was a great surprise for everyone else.
So this weekend has been kind of a watershed time. I found myself looking back across the years that my sweetie and I have traveled together. The ups and downs, the highs and lows.
We have received great blessings. We have each other, in all of our quirky humor, sharing a love of civil war history, the British Isles and Atlantic Canada. We have been blessed to travel to these places and share wonderful moments ( both before kids and with kids). We share a love of the comic strip "Get Fuzzy" and he will make sure every day that I get to see it. We enjoy books, and music and reading the personal ads in the London Review of Books.
I have learned to cook the things he likes including Chicken Paprikash, even with very potent paprika a co-worker brought us from Hungary. It does not require the same amount in a recipe. I learned this when proudly serving it to our interim pastor, and watching his face immediately turn red, and as he drank about three glasses of water I wondered if it might be too spicy. Miraculously the pastor lived. And my hubby has learned to eat things he would never have eaten growing up.
We share a love of the same music ( most of the time)and the milkcrate of albums he brought into the marriage is still upstairs. Along with the posters of the band "Rush" which are ( to his dismay) not displayed in the house. We have each been the one to bring home a dog who needed a home and you will find us telling stories about them almost as much as we talk about the kids.
But we have also walked the road of a terminally ill parent ( his father)whose service I planned and whose eulogy I delivered because I was the only one who knew his wishes. We have walked the road of getting a call that a parent is in the ER with heart issues ( his mom and my dad), we have walked the road of almost losing LC #1 at birth and diagnosing her learning issues, we have a child whose birthday is September 11th, which in 2001 was hard to deal with. We have walked the road of my uncle taking his life and me packing up my mother to travel a long distance to a funeral that was incomprehensible.
But through all of these things, God has blessed us with each other, and with more than we truly need. And as I have woven my way through discernment to now, he has been my biggest supporter and encourager, often telling me what I need to hear.
And all of this from the man who was not joining a church, just going to humor me.
I came home from Greek to find pizza on the counter, a glass of wine at the ready and flowers in my kitchen window. It doesn't get much better than that.
A time for endings and beginnings. A time to give thanks for the gift of family. And later today, a time to do my Greek homework.


Gannet Girl said...

When dh and I discussed my travel and absences before I took off for seminary, he reminded me of the many years when our children were very small and he spent week after week in California, in Canada, in England. I guess I have mercifully blocked most of that aspect of our lives from memory. From three kids, a dog, two cats, two birds, a guinea pig, and, of course, a house with a temperament of its own, he is down to just the dog and the house.

LawAndGospel said...

Luckily for my beloved I am commuting most of the time, but we have a dog, a gerbil, two teens, a couple of teen friends who seem to always be our responsibility and a cantankerous house. I came home to "I think I killed the shredder, why are the downstairs laundry lights not coming on" and when are we going to the store, but I still say this is small stuff. And when the chicks were little commuted two hours one way by train a couple times a week. When he was out the door at 5:30 am until he got home at 7 pm, if there was a problem, it was mine. And yet I too have blotted the hard parts of that out of memory. :)

Pastor Eric said...

Congratulations on finishing Greek...and let me tell you, in my 3 1/2 years in the parish I have never had a "Greek emergency" when I had to translate something right now. Even though I did not enjoy Greek one iota, I am thankful I know how to use the resources to do some translating when it is called for. Welcome home!

Pastor David said...

Congrats on surviving the SUmmer Greek ordeal. Like Eric, I have never had a "greek emergency." However, I do try to keep my greek in practice and it often repays me by providing exegetical insight for SUnday morning.

David said...

Congratulations to you! Summer Greek is certainly a challenge. Now the hard part is remaining proficient. don't worry, seminary classes will help with that.