Today I left home with a mental list of all that I needed to accomplish. I thought I would start the day preparing for my afternoon class—Women in Christian Tradition. We were scheduled to explore how Jesus treated women. It was too important a topic to handle poorly, so I needed to give some time to preparation. Writing a letter of recommendation was also on my agenda. One of my students is hoping to become a CPE intern. She needs a letter from a professor before her application is considered complete. Third on my agenda was a book review. I had read most of the book, but the review itself needed to be written. The due date was today.
I arrived on campus and discovered a student sitting outside my door. Meeting with a student was not on my to-do list but the look on the student’s face told me that her need was more important than anything else I had planned. We talked and cried and prayed for nearly an hour. The lines on her face were not so deep when she left.
I had settled in to prepare for class when I heard a knock on my door. A former student had come to tell me that he had an opportunity to talk to pastors in his association in a couple of days and he needed “ammunition” to make the cause for ordaining women—an idea most folks in his association had not been willing to consider. I pulled books from my shelves for him and we talked about responding in a way that both honored the scripture and the God who calls.
By the time the conversation ended, it was time for chapel. One of my colleagues was preaching today. He described his sermon as a love letter to God, and it was just that. It washed over me and changed me. How amazing to get to work and worship with such gifted people. It needed to be a cheese-cracker-lunch day but if you preach one of the best sermons ever, someone ought to at least take you out to lunch! So I fell even further off my schedule.
After lunch, I had two hours to address my to-do list. At this point, preparing for class had to be on the front burner. With only brief interruptions to discuss grades and tests, I was able to focus on Jesus and women for a while. I went to class and we had a great discussion about the kind of God we serve and how Jesus affirmed women both through his actions and through his words.
At 5:00, class ended and I headed home. Dinner, homework, and conversation filled the evening hours, but at 9:00 I returned to the recommendation letter. It is now sent. The book review will have to wait until tomorrow.
I’m exhausted, but like most days I feel so fortunate because I get to spend my days thinking and talking about things that matter, preparing and caring for people who have committed their lives to serving God, and enjoying the family, friends, colleagues, and students with whom I am privileged to share the journey.
I believe that God was in my schedule today and perhaps especially in the “interruptions.”
Lydia Hoyle is associate professor of Church History and Baptist Heritage at Campbell University Divinity School, Buies Creek, North Carolina.