I know what you are all thinking: “When is she going to tell us about the infamous seminarian Zoom meeting!?!?!”
Actually, I’m just saying that to make fun of myself. I really know what you are all thinking: “Should I buy this gift on Amazon or Target? Do I make gingerbread cookies or sugar? Do I go to the Christmas family event or just give up entirely and stay at home COVID-style?”
Your life, and my life, believe it or not, is full of things that have nothing to do with the Kunkle’s seminary journey. This is a very stupiding and humbling truth.
I was reading previous posts of mine, rolling my eyes, and chuckling at the former intensity of it all. Back then in those days… three months ago… seminary was quite intense! Maybe even slightly immaturely intense. But not regretful intense! I am not ashamed, nor am I regretful by all the emotions we felt. But boy am I humored by it! I can reminisce and glory and laugh at the deep sweeping lessons, questions, and angsts during our initial processing. And I smile knowing that it was all fitting and good for us to have gone through.
This realization, that life isn’t all about seminary (nor about our little microscopic personal lives), was proven obvious after meeting our new friends on Zoom. (Yes, even though you may have fairly-enough forgotten, I’m going to tell you about our Zoom meeting anyway! You can decide on the Christmas cookies later, yo).
The lives of these three couples confirmed quite starkly that the world does not, in fact, revolve around us.
Now that we have names, faces, and bare but budding friendships, seminary has taken on a whole new dimension. Before, seminary was consumed with us. Our story. Our call. Our spiritual advancement. Our purpose. Our acceptance. Us, us, us. And now the “us” story is refreshingly being widened to a… God story. Our hearts are being pried open to the hearts of others, and we awe at God’s fervent outstretched arms to ALL his people. Not just us.
We heard the stories of people who ended up at the same place as us. And although the end point is the same, the routes are all completely different, but evidently divine.
We actually had two Zoom meetings, the first with the international student from India and his wife, and the second with the other two couples in the states. We each took turns telling how we got to where we are, and how we hope to go where we plan to be. The conversations were bashful at times, lighthearted, gripping, and always God-praising. If you have ever met a new Christian, the stranger-aspect of him/her quickly fades because you realize you are not strangers, but legitimate family. It’s riveting! We love our new peeps.
We were very encouraged by the faith of these men and women. We loved their genuine hearts, open spirits, and friendly initiatives. We were inspired by their tenacious desire to follow the Lord and all the intertwining events that brought them to apply to Bethlehem. From literally across the world, to across the states, God has been moving in ways that are mysterious and exciting, and we finally got to see the crossway point of all of our lives!
And not that we compare our stories to theirs necessarily, but we did realize, again, that maybe we were a bit dramatic with our own seminary ordeal. Some of the stories of our friends seemed much more prickly than our own. Some stories were much longer. Some were much more lonely. Some were funnier or quirkier or more daunting. But, alas, even with this slight comparison, our conclusion isn’t whoever has the hardest journey wins. Nor is it whoever has the easiest story wins. It’s just simply: GOD WINS! And then we win with him through the living and telling of our miraculous unique stories. Moves happen. Life happens. Money happens (or doesn’t happen for that matter). Kids happen. Sin happens. Growth happens. Holiness happens. It all just happens! And God is exalted. And God is praised. And God is orchestrating all of these things, all at the same time, and it all just happens to work!
Geesh. I’m dizzy but stunned just thinking about it.
So, our Zoom call accomplished some real zooming. We learned to zoom-out our microscope. We learned to zoom our camera lens to capture a wider perspective. We learned to zoom further out on the landscape of God’s intimate picture. Our Papillion bubble is finally popping, and it feels so so good to get the zooming going out, and the going out getting big.
So, I applaud you zoom. Both kinds.