on the eve of seminary matriculation

The youngest child present who can read sings this song questioning four things different about the night of the seder from all other nights.

Mah nish-ta-na ha-laylah ha-zeh mikol ha-lei-lot? mikol ha-lei lot? Ha-laylah hazeh Ha-laylah hazeh mikol ha-lei lot, mikol ha-lei lot?

Why is this night of Passover different from all other nights of the year?
—”FOUR QUESTIONS: For the youngest child who can read,” as collected in the online resource Haggadot.com

FOUR QUESTIONS: to be asked by the spouse of a seminarian

Why is this my spouse’s advanced degree of Master’s of Divinity different from all other advanced degrees?

Why, for this my spouse’s degree, am I — who am not taking any classes — asked to take off work to go to lunch with other spouses of seminarians?

Why, for this my spouse’s degree, am I — who have seldom been asked to attend work-functions for all my spouse’s other employments — asked to kite across town so as to share ice cream, or casseroles, or other pot-luck with her student community? After all, I have a long day of work on the wrong side of rush hour to consider?

Why, for this my spouse’s degree, am I again struggling through rush hour to arrive at matriculation, which for most degrees is one of the least prepossessing of academic ceremonies? Graduation, now that’s something we all understand traveling for!

***

Riffs on the Passover seder liturgy aside…

When My Sweetie and I discussed the fruits of my discernment last spring, I’m pretty sure I mentioned how, last year, I kept hearing and processing this: the study we do here is not for our individual selves, but for our community. Our intimate community of faith, our wider community of residence and of practice, our national and global community. This is, in part, why I’m matriculating tonight and not keepin’ on keepin’ on taking classes piecemeal.

But I hadn’t stopped to recognize…
And as someone new-ish to Presbyterian life, I’m not sure My Sweetie even knew…

that my decision to begin an MDiv changes his life too.
The study I do here is not for my individual self, and as it—and I—share what God brings with our community, even the tiny community of him+me is altered.

This night is different from other nights. God’s name be praised forever.

 

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