01 August 2008

In Retrospect: Days 4 & 5

When I first got accepted to this program, I was excited but scared that it'd be over my head, the people wouldn't be nice, I'd feel out of place.  Now that the program is officially over, I'm happy to say that absolutely none of those things were true.  Quite the opposite, actually.  

My "Human Knowledge and Divine Wisdom" class was difficult, but extraordinary once the professor put it all together in class today.  Without getting into the nitty-gritty, the entire class came down to this:  Jesus is, among other things, wisdom incarnate.  I haven't made complete sense of the class yet, but I distinctly remember an "Aha!" moment today where I realized that his thesis was absolute genius.  And with good reason, too--it turns out that his doctorate is in Wisdom Literature.  He's been a theology man for decades now, but he's finally coming full circle again with his latest book, which is on the same Wisdom Literature-Postmodern Philosophy blend as our class.  He informed us today of the book, its title, and that he'd be acknowledging our class' contribution to the process in the preface.  I had the pleasure of sitting across from him at the closing dinner tonight (thank you, seat assigning people!) and spoke with him about his studies, my possible future at Oxford (!), and (of all things) customs officials.  He was also kind enough to sign my copy of his book.  That's one that won't be going to Half.com anytime soon.

"The Bible and Archaeology," while a fascinating class, did more for me personally than academically.  The topic was interesting and I learned a lot, but the highlight of the course really was the instructor, Dom Henry.  He is one of the most earnest, kind-hearted people I've ever met, with a true humility despite his incredible amount of knowledge.  He is, in a word, delightful.  He's also the only professor I had enough nerve to ask to take a picture with, as evidenced below. 

In the end, this experience has been infinitely more than I ever dreamed that it would be...more illuminating, more fun, more meaningful.  I met some wonderful people who looked upon me not as the green college student who doesn't even have her Bachelor's yet, but as a colleague.  They asked my opinion about things and were interested in what I want to do.  The entire city of Oxford seemed to approve of my existence, from the Porters guarding the college entries to Tom, the bell, reminding me of the time, to even the buildings that inspire such excellence.  I learned a lot about the Bible and about Theology certainly, but (at the risk of sounding cliched) I learned even more about myself.  The world is, in fact, my oyster and I didn't realize that until I came here.  I leave with full anticipation of returning--it will take a lot of work and a bit of time, but I know I'll be back.  

On my way back to my room tonight after the closing dinner, I was thinking about the experience, how much I loved every bit of it, and how it's changed me so much in such a short time when I had an idea.  Giggling and veiled under the darkness, I kicked off my stilettos and ran barefoot through the grass in front of Peckwater Quad--just because I've been to Oxford doesn't mean I'm not still relaxed enough to stick it to The Man every once in awhile.   I fully expect the Porters to tell me off tomorrow on my way to breakfast.  


hrobins said...

Cindy, I must say that I absolutely love that you pranced across the forbidden lawn. When you're back in Chicago (I know, so sad after Oxford), we should find some illegal grass to prance across. Or climb a tree. Cheers!! And I pray that you have a safe trip home. =)

Cindy said...

Haha I know...the North Parker in me is still dominant I suppose.

You + Me + some sort of beverage = happening as soon as we get back

hrobins said...

Me + You + some sort of beverage = SO TOTALLY happening as soon as we get back!!