Our final exam lasted four hours.
Of course, you would expect nothing less from an upper-level religion class.
We spent the first hour socializing in our professor’s living room. We were off campus during finals week (a rarity). And our time belonged to that professor which meant we could relax until he told us to do something different.
We spent the second hour seated around his dining room table sharing a delicious meal home-cooked (also a rarity). He and his wife not only opened their home to us, they opened up their kitchen… and their hearts.
The third hour consisted of a book discussion. Of course, it couldn’t be a religion final without a book discussion. (The book: The Shack. The discussion: its Christology).
The fourth hour we coached each other through Wii Fit games. You think I’m kidding.
That was two and a half years ago.
Today that professor and his wife pack up the last of their belongings and leave that house where we spent the evening.
They say farewell to a community we’re all fond of to be closer to their grandchildren.
And they will be dearly missed.
But we cannot be un-touched by their love.
We will never forget the way the Apostle Paul came to life in his class.
We will sometimes still get an old tune stuck in our head, bursting out of our mouths because it cannot be contained.
It’s a Greek word for “good” and only word in a song we sang daily in class.
We sang in the caf. On the street corner. In IHOP.
We sang when class made your brain hurt at 10pm.
We sang when the diagnosis wasn’t good.
We sang when we said good-bye.
Because more than a song, it’s a way of life.
More than kala, it’s kara.
It’s taking stressed honors students, inviting them into your home until all hours of the night, feeding them, and letting them use your big screen tv to laugh at each other.
It’s making sure everyone knows you’ll be disappointed if they’re in your area and don’t call.
It’s splitting a sub and an oversized ice cream with a former student.
It’s listening to the tough questions and providing a non-judgmental answer.
It’s letting your important conversation be interrupted for a hug.
It’s believing in others even on days when they don’t believe in themselves.
It’s the little moments.
The ones that are right there in front of you whether you choose to seize them or not.
Go in peace…
and live kala.
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