It's crunch time. My classmates and I are all going crazy as we plunge through the final two weeks of class this quarter. Exegesis papers, historical comparison papers, papers describing various congregations, Hebrew translation exercises, and reading pages upon pages of documents ... this is what I'm up to my ears in right now.
My undergraduate period was 20 years ago. And I have two big regrets about that time -- no, three: (1) I complained too much, (2) I did the minimum amount of work, and (3) I spent more time thinking about myself than about others. I wasn't mature enough to appreciate what I was doing, at least not until my senior year. Then, just when I really started enjoying college, I hit the required number of credits and graduated.
This time around, I'm not making that same mistake. Sure, I'm tempted to complain about the workload from time to time. I can't possible finish all the reading I'm assigned, but that's not the point. The point is that it's a huge privilege to be here, and it's been made possible through the efforts of many generous people. As someone who receives significant financial aid, I have to acknowledge that I don't even know most of the people who are contributing to my seminary education. And this humbles me.
So today, I want to say: Thank you. If you gave money to send me here, thank you. If you support your own alma mater, whatever it may be, thank you. God willing, and the people of God consenting, I will pay you back by being a priest in God's Church.