Thursday, October 8, 2009

Seminary Days

I had a couple of fun little reminders tonight. Sweet reminders, maybe, of a time I don't often look back on fondly enough. The first year that Paul and I were married, we lived in Louisville, Kentucky while he was attending Southern Seminary.

Every year of his seminary career pretty much looked different. He was there for one year "alone" when we were engaged. Then we lived there for a year. Then we moved to Muncie to work with Baptist Collegiate Ministry and he commuted the rest of his days. Poor guy.

The year that we lived in Louisville, I was working as a secretary in one of the seminary offices while he attended classes. To put it lightly, we pretty much did not have two nickels to rub together. I know everyone looks back at their early married days and recalls how poor they were. And I believe them. Because we were.....very.....lacking. Everything we owned was either a wedding gift or a hand-me-down. When we wrote out our budget on paper (not smartly AFTER we had already taken our jobs), we realized that our income was not enough to cover our outgo. Yet somehow, we always made it. Literally, our bills added up to more than our combined income. I'm still astounded when I think about it.

To be honest, it was a tough year. I'm sad to say that I probably missed out on really enjoying all that there was to enjoy, and probably on some really sweet moments in marriage, because I was so focused on "our poverty."

Tonight, I was kind of on a cooking and baking kick. I had a real craving for baked custard, which was something my mom would often make when I was growing up. It is a real comfort food, and tasted especially good when we were sick. And tonight, I just wanted some. Then I remembered something from seminary....

I had gone to some special ladies night thing at the school that was a "welcome wagon" night of sorts. They had a ton of door prizes. And the prize I won was such a great one, and again, I probably missed the blessing. When many others won gift certificates to restaurants, which I wanted SO BADLY because we could not even think about eating out, I won the opportunity to go to the home of seminary president, Dr. Mohler, and his wife, Mrs. Mohler, with ten other ladies, to have a pie-making class taught to us by Mrs. Mohler herself. I thought, All I want is the chance to eat out with my husband, and now I have to go and make pies at a mansion with a bunch of people I don't know. Bad attitude, I know.

So, I went to Mrs. Mohler's beautiful home. And she taught us her own grandmother's pie crust recipe. We made the crust at her house, and then she gave us several recipes for fillings to take home and finish our pies. I looked over the recipes, and realized the only one I thought I could make was custard. For one, I knew that I loved custard pie. But I also knew that it was the only pie that would not require a trip to the grocery store to buy ingredients. There were no "quick trips" to the store in those days. Custard requires eggs, milk, sugar, and vanilla. I knew those were all staples that I would have in our little apartment kitchen.

I went home and made that custard pie. It was delicious. I took it home to share with my dad for his birthday (I think). It felt so good to have my parents rave about something I had made. I was proud of it, even if it did only take four ingredients out of my kitchen.

For some reason, tonight as I made that custard in my parsonage kitchen, I thought about that pie-making class and my first custard pie. I realized how I almost missed something special back then, for being so focused on what we didn't have. I could have made a pecan pie or a Derby pie (be still my heart). I made the decision, however, to make do with what I had, and it was wonderful. God had us make do with a lot back then that I take for granted now. Somehow, though, He always provided enough for us to have sweet memories.


Heather Kay said...

What a great memory and attitude to have now! I really enjoy your writing. Oh and I love custard pie!

Debra said...

I have memories just like these about our first years as broke, married college students (not much has changed about that but our attitudes are much improved). Its amazing how when you look back the memories have a specialness to them. Glad we can both look back now and see lessons learned and cherish some of those memories we didn't savor then.