It was an early Monday morning in August, the 25th to be exact. I walked into room 322 for my third “first day” within those four walls. I’ve learned more in the space between those walls than I have in just about any other room on this campus.
Verses have been read, tears have been shed, and I have been challenged to both know and defend what I believe. Those walls hold up the building just like faith holds up my often weary spirit — but on this Monday I was set to learn about a different spirit.
I just didn’t know it yet.
Contemporary Theology is what the syllabus says, but every Monday, Wednesday, and Friday morning I show up in 322 and we talk about the Holy Spirit. Each night I pull out a thick book or two and dive into a sea of words I can barely spell, let alone speak.
It’s challenging and what I’m learning stretches beyond those four walls. We aren’t learning about grammatical errors or doing math equations, we’re learning about a Person, the One that wrote the Book and created the minds that add and subtract.
I read it this weekend and immediately drew brackets around it, these words about the margins and the forgotten.
We must listen to the ‘margins’ by allowing the hitherto voiceless and often nameless to speak.
It feels near impossible to read those words without wincing. We are losing the stories of those who have gone before. They are dying and we haven’t been listening and their names — their stories — are disappearing.
Oh, may that not be our generation. May we ask and then stop to listen.
Could we simply do the asking so that they can do the telling? Could we learn and take in, could we create a safe place for stories to be shared?
Who are the nameless, the voiceless? Where are they? Not too far from where you are, I presume. They aren’t far from me, either. I want to be one that stops. I want to be one who asks and then waits for the answer and the telling.
Every story is beautiful because every story matters. Even the ones of those who don’t have a name. May we be a walking and breathing room 322, a safe place for the telling.
This makes me smile. A few months ago I began with a list of questions for my 91 yr. old grandfather. I now have a binder with pages of his life history, many in his handwriting, that I find precious. It is an ongoing project that I am uncertain what I will do with at this point.
I now wonder who else I should be asking their story. Maybe an elderly church member or two?
Oh I *love* that Kim! I’m sure you will treasure his answers for so many years…and not only you, but your family as well. But I think my favorite is that it’s his handwriting. :)
I love this! Beautiful post.
Thank you very much, Ami. I hope you had a great week!
I love this post. You are so right about the Bible – about it pointing to the One, not spelling out a math problem. That is, I think, the biggest difference between someone who knows God and someone who has learned about God.
My husband is an atheist, and at the end of last year, in a gesture of goodwill I tried reading one of his books, and I was overwhelmed by how they were treating God like he was some kind of math equation that didn’t add up, instead of the living, Person He is.
BTW: love how you ended it and the idea that WE can be the space where people share their stories.
HA – good thing it isn’t math because that is *not* my thing. I’ll definitely be thinking about and praying for your relationship with your husband and his with the Lord. God can’t be “sorted out” or put in a box… there are so many questions we could wrestle with all day and stay up at night thinking through, but ultimately I don’t want a God I can fully understand.
This is so true! Those who have lived unbelievable stories are slipping from the face of the earth and no one has captured their amazing stories. Thanks Kaitlyn.
Thanks for your comment, Cathy! I’m with ya… I don’t want to miss their stories.