Living on campus is like living in a little oasis in the middle of New Orleans. There is a stark difference between what is inside the seminary gates and what is outside. Although the seminary welcomes the community, the campus is maintained and protected in a way that is not like the surrounding community.
I spend a lot of time off campus. By the time I get back to campus each night, I am ready to be there. There is a reason that memos to the entire campus are addressed “seminary family.” When I pull into campus, I wave at the student officer manning the guard shack. I drive past the president’s house, who regularly welcomes students to his home. I turn left, passing the road that leads to all the staff housing. I turn right as I see my Christian History professor and his wife crossing the road. I continue forward, pulling into a parking spot in front of my dorm as a PhD student runs by my car. I get out of my car and walk into the dorm parlor. I wave at a girl cooking and quickly walk past the couples snuggling on the couches. Unlocking my hall door, I walk through the hall, up the stairs, and to my unlocked room (trying to avoid being stopped by girls down the hall before I eat dinner). When I used to come home late while living with my mom and sister, I often had to spend a few minutes in my car before going inside. As an introvert, I needed a few moments alone (and my family knew that). When I come home late to seminary, I have to sit in my car for a few moments alone because I know I’m not just going to see my two closest family members. Here, the seminary family is like seeing the WHOLE family every night. It’s like living with parents, grandparents, aunts, uncles, cousins, nieces, nephews, and second cousins twice removed.
There are certain comical aspects of this type of living—like seeing my counseling professor run barefoot around campus or walking outside in sweats while the president and his wife unload groceries. However, encouragement is the primary result of this kind of living.
This weekend a professor’s kid, who I help teach at my church, invited a friend and I over to play with their litter of puppies. I love puppies. More than once I’ve gone to a pet shop just to see puppies. I hardly ever see dogs in New Orleans, so this invitation was such an encouragement to me…and even someone that isn’t a dog lover should find some joy in these pictures…
This may sound cheesy or cliché, but I am encouraged by how God meets our needs—even our smallest, puppy-cuddling needs. I also love the example that our seminary professors are setting for hospitality and generosity. I cannot imagine how exhausting it is to see students 24/7, but their ministry to us reminds me of Jesus’ ministry to the disciples. It is also refreshing as we serve in a dark city to come home to light-bearers.