There is much talk these days about how every family is a homeschooling family. It’s been almost a dozen years since I finished that important work with our daughter. Often people wonder what they will do when their intensive parenting days come to an end.
For me, much of my time now is invested in my full-time employment at the Reformed Presbyterian Theological Seminary, but “employment” is the wrong word. It is a true privilege to serve the Lord here at a place where we are preparing men for pastoral ministry and training others for Kingdom service. In addition, I have the blessing of serving with my husband, and we have great fun working together. Colossians 3:23-24 tells us to do everything unto the Lord, because we are ultimately serving Him and not men. This is a wonderful reminder for all of us, whether we serve the Lord in the home or at the office.
I have also spent most of the past ten years studying at RPTS. This, too, is a great privilege. Working with and for our professors takes on a deeper meaning when you spend time with them in the classroom – when you not only learn from them, but you see their hearts (and sometimes their tears) and their desire to raise up servants who love the Lord, His Word, and His people.
Of course, at any educational institution, the students are important. But we are a small school, and our students are not just statistics to us. We enjoy the blessing of Christian fellowship, of sharing our lives together, of family. We are quickly approaching another graduation – that time of sadness when “family” members move away. At that point every year, we become socially distant!
When you are empty-nesters with married children, folks often want to know not only how you spend your time, but they also like to hear about your grandchildren. So, when people ask me if I have grandchildren, my answer is “sort of.” No, I don’t have biological grandchildren (which is what they are asking), but we have shared wonderful moments with and have precious memories of many Seminary children: Joshua and James spinning at the playground during the end-of-year picnic; Judah coming to the office for animal crackers every week; the Curious George birthday cakes for Micah; Wade and Moses bringing Valentine cookies to Mark; Simeon standing on the stairs practicing his “preaching”; Isaiah with his little psalter in one hand and the other hand precenting; Jennie curling up in my lap at women’s Bible study; little Cara announcing that she had prayed for Mark’s father who had a recent heart attack; and Cameron who is now sending Mark videos of his new German airplane model kit. And the list could go on!
This year is even more bittersweet than usual, as our classes have all gone online, and commencement is going digital. And yet, the love is the same. Today I reflected upon that as I watched Allen attending class virtually with his daughter on his lap. And Graham has shaved his head since the last time I saw him! A wonderful couple with whom I have spent many hours will finish their studies and return to East Asia soon. I was thinking that we need to have one more meal together before they are half a world away. That’s pretty socially distant!
Yes, this year has been different, but the love is the same. Socially distant, but spiritually dear. And I am thankful to be here!