Proverbs 18:24 NRSV “Some friends play at friendship but a true friend sticks closer than one’s nearest kin.”
What an exciting time life has been since graduation. I married my best friend (probably should update my bio), we moved to Waco, began life here, I started class at the best seminary in the world (for me), have begun the process of talking with a church to become their pastor, and, on top of it all, met some incredibly godly people. They tell you before college those you meet in undergraduate education will be your lifelong friends. I have a group of men that attest to that (Lambda Alpha Tau) and a handful friends not a part of Lambda that atest to that. What they do not tell you, whoever they are, is that when you attend seminary those people become your family. Let me explain.
I have a beautiful family. I have great parents, aunt and uncle, cousins more athletic than I could ever dream, and fantastic in-laws. Shelby has a beautiful family, too. I finally have younger siblings (some may experience the opposite of my excitement if their siblings have been around forever!), a father-in-law as a mentor, and grandparents (for those who do not know, we lost my grandfather in Oct. of 2004 and my grandmother in May/June of 2005). I have some “like” family (basically are to be honest) and now I have more. I am thankful. But Proverbs has wise words (I mean, it is Scripture after all). My seminarian friends are my family, our family. These are our people. Truett Seminary breeds an environment for closeness (we call it community) and we could not have asked for better friends. I am challenged by them, encouraged and ministered by them. We stress together for the next #RowanFannin (thanks, Scotty, for the hashtag!) test or Introduction to Scriptures test with one of the best professors I have ever had the pleasure of learning under.
They are wonderful at keeping me focused on school when necessary, but also know how to laugh and have a great time. They are not short on laughter (one particular friend’s laugh is so contagious, you cannot help but laugh also). These are friends I would (will) call on during ministry because I know they will minister gracefully and truthfully. These are friends my wife can call upon. They have supported us and loved us unconditionally. I only pray Shelby and I do the same for them. Have you ever thought “How in the world did I deserve this”? I certainly have. Every time I look at my wife, and now my seminary family.
I would also like to say something brief about the professors and dean of Truett. These men and women are so inspiring. I hope to be in their shoes someday, teaching young theologians the wonderful intricacies of theology and Scripture. Professors have such a wonderful ability to become your friend just by simply being there. When they see you in the hallway, or in class, they check on you, invest in you. And the Dean, Dr. Todd Still, is beyond wonderful to have. He knows students and he knows us well. Not only are they professors, they’re pastors; and that means the world to a bunch of first year seminary students who are feeling new stressors of life.
So, not only do I take challenging courses at Truett, I take on challenging life circumstances with my family. Whatever they are battling we (Shelby and I) battle with them. Whatever is troubling them we listen. Whatever is worthy of praise to God we praise with them. Life is not meant to be alone. Jesus lived it with twelve disciples (this is where I am thankful I do not have to limit myself to just tweleve!). When you meet the types of people who I have met, the ones you struggle, grow, minister, worship, and listen with, they become your family. I did not anticipate the people I would meet, but God has a way of exceeding expectations. God is incredible. These people are incredible. They are our family.
Proverbs 27:17 ESV “Iron sharpens iron, and one person sharpens another.”