Saturday, August 13, 2005

Roger and the Bat meet Parsley

Yesterday marked the end of the equivalent of one semester of elementary Greek for our class at Wartburg Seminary. We completed 16 chapters in 3 weeks, and had the "midterm" exam. The fourth section of this exam was translating the beginning of Mark's gospel into English. As I translated, I approached the gospel with intensified awe, something much larger and mysterious than I've felt when reading in English.

On Thursday, we had two visitors in class. Roger, a middler from Wisconsin, appeared in class as an auditor for the remaining three weeks. He took this same class last summer, then had a series of small strokes. Due to his memory lapses, he forgot the Greek he learned. Shortly after his arrival that day, a bat flew through our classroom, down from the dome of the skylight to circle around our heads. My study partner yelped and covered his head with his textbook, while our professor continued to write verb tenses on the board. The student next to me said, "This must be what hell is like!" Luckily, our instructor seems unflappable. She told us this week that the informal name of our course is not Summer Greek, but rather Suicide Greek. (Now she tells us!)

Meanwhile, my study group has renamed me Parsley, due to my insistence on "parsing" each part of our homework sentences. So, while I introduced myself to Roger as "Raisin," my cohorts introduced me as "Parsley." Either way, he seemed skeptical, but amused.

My study partner Kirsten trusted us enough this week to say that just before Greek class began, her husband of nearly 20 years asked for a separation, unable to support her decision to enter seminary because of the financial drain. My study partner, Craig, reported that his wife questions the strength of their marriage because Craig spends most of their time together studying Greek. David, newly relocated to Dubuque from Kentucky, now questions his call.

Back at home, John and I pray for his very dear mother Ruth. At age 94, she has just been hospitalized, suffering the end stages of dementia. She is anxious, paranoid, and even violent with the staff. She no longer remembers what food is for, so has not eaten. Her living will stipulates not only DNR, but no IV hydration nor feeding.

And so we pray this day for Ruth and for John (and siblings Toot, Marian, Bill and George), for Kirsten and Craig, Roger and David. I also pray for my colleagues completing CPE, and our batch of incoming seminarians!


Blogger AKMA said...

To translate is human; to parse, divine.

8:37 PM  

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