Monday, January 3, 2011

Hello 2011. What's New?

So, what's New? It's three days into 2011. Something is bound to be new and different, right? A New Year. A New Day. So, as I sit here in my same favorite jeans, in my same chair, before my same computer, it seems quite remarkable that a new year has begun. Everything around me, including me, looks and appears to be the same.  I want to emphasis the terminology in my previous sentence: everything...appears to be the same.

Over the Christmas break, I have been doing two things, OK maybe three:  Reading Greek daily (though I am incalculably slow at it!), Writing more, and hanging out in my PJ's until at least 11am in the morning.  The latter being the most delicious part of the holiday break, in my opinion; sorry Greek professors, no offense, really!  Truly though, I must say that all three packaged together have been a powerful and quite necessary resuscitation of my soul.  My soul has been a little weary.  If you would like some insight into why, look back at my blog post, It's Advent, and I have no hope!, there you will see the way in which my December began.  It wasn't pretty, folks. There is no need to spend time detailing the dark abyss that was the state of my soul these past few weeks (who says I'm dramatic?).  What is important is detailing the wonder of resuscitation through greek, writing and PJ time.I will do this in parts. Today is part #1--Greek.

Greek. A big part of learning Greek is memorizing vocabulary. Sounds fun, right!? Well, fortunately for me, after years of working in the Theater, memorization comes relatively easy.  The languages tend to come easy for me as well, much to the angst of some my dear seminary friends, whose worst nightmare is to spend a semester in Greek or Hebrew, only magnified when having to share the class with someone like me. I love learning languages--passionately love learning languages. So I get excited.  To my astonishment, that annoys people who are being forced, against their will, to take Greek or Hebrew, in order to check off the little boxes on their degree requirements.  Languages simply do not come easy to everyone; lesson learned!  We Biblical Studies majors are a rare breed, I've heard, though for the life of me, I cannot imagine why!  I have won the title "Nerd" thus the name of my blog. :) I digress so onward!

This past semester, one of those seminary friends set forth a challenge, though at the time she nor I really considered it a "real" challenge (at least I didn't, maybe she did?).  Let me preface this story by saying this: #1 Before this past semester, I had already taken Greek and #2 I had no choice but to take Greek I and Greek II together in one semester. Really. I love the languages, but not that much.  I have designs to graduate next December, and not one day later!

One day, my aforementioned friend posted this on my FB wall: "I expect you to be reading Greek devotionally by the end of the semester!"  I read it. I laughed. I moved on. I made it through the semester, completely and utterly immersed in the language of Greek. Friends, I am not exaggerating when I say that I began to dream in Greek (which by the way, I still am!).  By the end of the semester, I was over Greek. I mean really over Greek!  After my early December breakdown, note the blog post I mentioned earlier, I crawled towards the end of the semester, Dec 17. After two Greek finals in one week, I genuinely felt that if never looked at the Greek language again, I would be fine.

Then, something strange happened.  After a couple of days, to my utter astonishment, I began to miss it.

The words resounded in my head, as I said to myself, out loud, "Heather, what is wrong with you?!" 

I berated myself for it, as if desiring to read the language of the original manuscripts of the Scriptures was a criminal act.  I knew what I had to do. Opening up my Greek New Testament (GNT), I sharpened my colored pencils, and began to read.  Wow! It was exhilarating!  Reading Greek. No pressure. Just me, the GNT, and a couple other Greek tools (lexicons, morphology books, etc).  It was beautiful. I mean that in every possible way that you could perceive something as beautiful. Then I heard what sounded like a metal scraping--ahh, I realized--the title "Nerd" was being permanently engraved into my forehead. There was no pain though, so I was OK with. I am a chicken when it comes to pain.

Slowly, something began to stir deep within my soul, and it felt really good.  Have you ever been in a place where you knew that you were in the perfect place? Everything was right with the world.  I stopped, looked Heaven-ward and whispered, "Thank You."  I was on my way back to wholeness, not because of my ability to read Greek (though the Greek immersion experience was helpful!) but because of God's magnificent Grace over me and my life.  He knows me better than I know myself.  He knew what I needed, and He had lovingly prepared a way for me, long before I knew I would need it.  Now, isn't that amazing?

So I look back over the past few weeks, as I prepare to read my next paragraph in my GNT, and realize that He indeed he is making all things new.  Not just for me, but for you too.  May we be obedient to the task of taking that wonderful gift of His Grace and moving ahead to new-ness.


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