Thirty-nine years ago, after finishing college, I bought a car and drove from Ohio to Pennsylvania to begin seminary. The following year I got married to a remarkably gifted student who was one class year ahead of me. After his graduation from seminary, we had to decide what to do next. Did we stay in Pennslyvania for a year so that I could finish school, or did we head to graduate school in Connecticut and let me finish my Master of Divinity degree long-distance? We sought and received excellent advice from trusted faculty, and we moved to Connecticut, where I was allowed to finish my last academic year, long distance.
We found a first-floor apartment on a quiet street not far from the Graduate Department of Religious Studies. As we got to know others, it often happened that my husband’s classmates would come over on the weekend for dinner and a movie. After that first year, when I finished my M.Div., I needed to find some temporary work in our new town, and I made an appointment to talk to one of my husband’s professors. His help eventually led me to a job, but before leaving that meeting, he said that there was something he wanted to discuss with me.
He told me how often students would talk to him about coming over to our apartment for a homemade dinner, good conversation, and a movie. He happily recounted that quite a few students had told him about their visits to our house, and then he asked me to remember something. He said that what we were doing was such an important thing and that if ever we couldn’t afford to invite my husband’s classmates over for an evening of food & movies — he would like to assist us financially to continue doing that.
We never needed to take him up on that offer. But it was an unusual kindness that has left me with a decades’ long memory, hard-wired on my heart.
That amazingly kind professor, considered hospitality and good conversation, over a homemade dinner, worthy of an investment.