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The finish line

Last week, my academic advisor saved my summer and my graduation date. For months I had been mulling over how I could have four kids out of school, work a part-time job, complete apprenticeship requirements, and take two graduate classes. In case you are thinking, “easy, Lisa, just take fewer classes to accommodate for the summer,” let me tell you that decision would entail going to school next summer too. And I don’t want to do that. 

I have ten classes left when I wrap up this quarter in a few weeks. That’s two classes in spring quarter, two classes in summer quarter, two classes in fall quarter, two classes in winter quarter, and two classes in one last, final spring quarter. My advisor had some advice that rescued my summer and makes this the last summer that I will take classes for my Mdiv. I can graduate the first weekend of June 2024. Justin and I have already looked at flights, and Airbnbs, and how far Pasadena is from the Pacific Ocean. I’ve never seen it and I intend to when we go to graduation. Justin insists that we’re going to graduation. 

There’s a finish line in sight. I’m counting down. It’s a lot of work left but I’m thrilled to be pacing myself to the end of something weighty, and yes, I’m aware that I will miss it when it’s done. 

I want it to be a gift to others. Going to seminary has been a gift. It’s cost us time and resources. I’ve spent countless hours studying and reading and writing and parsing verbs instead of doing other things. It’s been work and privilege and gift. I never want it to be something that just makes me look good; I don’t want it to be about me. I want the work to have been in service to the church, both the person reading the theology books and the person who would never want to attend seminary, and to the world. 

This morning I read 1 Timothy 1 and Paul said, “Now the goal of our instruction is love…” I want to love better because of what I’ve done here in seminary. I want this work to be a gift to the unbelievers that surround me and to the believers who walk with me. It’s been a gift to me; I hope it’s a gift to others. 

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