Tuesday, December 18, 2007

Advent 17: Midlife

Sometimes I just make a list of what I've been doing all day, as a way of remembering what my life was like at a given time in a given place, and that's what I feel like doing tonight. So, a window into the life of a midlife seminary student and mom of young adults:

I worked on Greek for awhile early this morning. We have to translate the two nativity stories for Friday, today is the only day I have big chunks of time available for it and, as will become obvious, for me those two little translations are no small task.

I went to a class that I'm visiting whenever I can; this quarter my schedule prevents me from taking the section of church history that I would choose if I could, so I am sort of auditing it when I can. I want to know everything this particular professor has to say about Luther and Calvin, and today was a Luther day. I did Greek and tuned in at the critical moments to take occasional notes on the stuff I don't understand.

I sat in the empty classroom and did a few more Greek sentences and then went to the last half of chapel to hear at least some of the lovely music planned for today.

I made a call to Chicago son's girlfriend to tell her that a package would be arriving today and to confiim their plans to visit her family in Arkansas for Christmas. They were with us for Thanskgiving so I Am Not Complaining. Right.

I had lunch with the aforementioned professor and a lively group of students, ready to put classes aside for a couple of weeks and happy to laugh over Christmases past and present filled with little kids, Barbies, and reindeer on the rooftops.

I spent some time with another professor in my continuing effort to address some of the theological questions that challenge me.

I continued my game of phone tag with someone in my presbytery who is helping me out with internship possibilities.

And then -- another hour translating Greek, an hour with the Greek tutor (poor guy -- he must have said the same thing fifteen times; perhaps it would stick if only it made just the tiniest bit of sense!), an hour's walk as this really cold and really beautiful day turned from dusk into evening, a call to the Lovely Daughter about summer job issues, a very short dinner with some very funny conversation and then -- yeah, you got it, three more hours in the library devoted to -- ahem -- translating Greek.

It is really pathetic when two stories you almost know by heart still require that many hours to translate.

And now -- I am going to go and finish reading the Book of Acts for my New Testament class. Reading the Bible in seminary -- a novel idea. Oh -- no -- wait! I did spend the entire day attempting to read two teeny little passages in Greek. Does that count?


Quotidian Grace said...

I love your reports from the seminary front! Good luck with the Greek, too!

Carol said...

Your commitment to this process is inspiring, GG. I doubt I'd have the tenacity to stick it out.

mompriest said...

I spent part of my weekend with a woman who is Jewish (she was the other birth coach along with myself for our friend who delivered the twin girls)...anyway, she was talking about taking the Hebrew reading class at her synagogue. She said she can read Hebrew, just very slowly and wants to read it faster so she can keep up with the service....

It reminded me of my tiny effort to learn both Hebrew and Greek. For me Hebrew was definitely easier, which isn't saying much...except Greek is really difficult. I was forever mixing up the letters because they are just too close in appearance to our American alphabet - only they are completely different!


I feel for you GG, and give you credit for being so persistent! I think one day you will get it and then eventually wonder why it all seemed so difficult...(but, me, never...I will have to rely on others to tell me the Greek translation)....

Sounds like a good day, all in all.

Presbyterian Gal said...

Greek: "if it only made the tiniest bit of sense". But it can't 'cause it's all Greek to you!!

hahaha. OK. Not funny. I've got the flu.

I'll bet you get an internship very quickly.

(word verification: "spgmmy" which is Greek for "PG needs her mommy")

steve said...

If it helps, recent brain research suggests that activities which really make us struggle and focus and pay attention -- are also those activities that seem to keep our brains young and healthy. I thought of that while I read about your struggles with Greek.

Diane said...

I have to admit, I really enjoyed both Greek and Hebrew. I studied Greek with a group of students (one who it turns out is brilliant and is a professor now). Hebrew was good, but by golly, I can't decipher it for the life of me now!

I'd say it's like Greek to me, but it seems a little too ironic.

Hang in there!

Kathryn said...

I'm hoping that the translations went well after the start. Is Friday the end of the semester? I hope you enjoy a nice long Christmas break.

LawAndGospel said...

I have to say that I enjoyed Greek, which is good because I need it for my Gospels class which starts at the end of January. I remember times when I was convinced I would NEVER get it, but then something like divine intervention would happen and it would click, until the next wall. Do they let you use Bible software? If so, I highly recommend Bibleworks, but Logos is nice too. Maybe a belated Christmas gift to self? Blessings to you for a joyous holiday and a brief reprieve from Greek!