Besides our wonderful time with Rob and Linda Merola in Sterling, VA, I’ve had some great times with my Trinity Seminary students who are no longer students but friends — Cheryl Hatch in D.C. and Sam Lamberson in Ft Lauderdale.
Put simply, Cheryl was one of the finest students I ever had at TEDS. She is gifted, felt called, pursued openings to teach or preach, was talked to about staff positions for women’s or children’s ministry, she returned to DC and resumed a career with the Feds. I’m not proud of what happened to her because I know what she has to offer, but Cheryl has become an engaging lay person who lifts those around her and finds a way to keep up with her Greek and her studies and her reading. Kris and I had a wonderful dinner with Cheryl in Arlington VA at a nice Italian restaurant. (I saw Frank Gifford and shook his hand.) Cheryl had story after story about her government job and it was fun to hear all the stuff she gets herself into. She’s a deacon at National Presbyterian, so if you see her, say hello to her from her old professor. The point is this: Cheryl isn’t a student; she’s a family member. Twenty five years ago she sat in my classes, wrote insightful papers, and engaged me in conversations at a level I’ve rarely known. She gave me a book on the Bible that told the story of manuscripts the first 1000 years.
Sam Lamerson is now a professor at Knox Theological Seminary. He routinely writes notes, keeps me up with what he is doing, and often reads things I’m sketching out. He is also filling the pulpit for James Kennedy now that Dr. Kennedy’s health is unsteady. Somehow Sam is now teaching classical literature — like Plato and Aristotle — and always finds interesting insights from those great writings. Well, Sam was on a study break up here and invited me to lunch so we dined at Firkin’s in downtown Libertyville. We swapped school stories and talked about what we are working on — he’s doing interesting research on humor and comedy in Jesus’ teachings. Again, Sam is no longer a student but a family friend — we know what is going on with him and he with us.
I must say this: my life has fallen in gentle places. I’m proud of my students and proud that they think of me when they are in our area and want to get together. It is not simply a matter or reminiscence. It’s about folks that wind the separate chapters of our lives into a meaningful narrative. I remember where students sat: Cheryl sat in a row behind Linda Merola (Rob’s wife now, but his girlfriend at the time), a year or so earlier.