October 2016 came quickly during my fall semester, and it was time for me to travel up for my week long residential class. As usual, I rented a car to take up to Luther Seminary, but I was met at the rental place with bad news. Despite my reservation, there were no cars available, and I would have to drive a Jeep. This meant I was going to use far more gas than I had budgeted for.
Already feeling a bit down about this latest trip to the campus, I tried to make the best of driving the long hours. To pass the time, I decided to make my first series of Instagram stories to document my trip. Instagram stories are short videos or photos that are posted on the social photo sharing app, Instagram, and last for only 24 hours. Something about documenting my trip brightened my mood, and I found myself enjoying the scenery and the stops at wooded rest areas. Thanks to the technology, I felt less alone. I also realized that I had some bitterness about this trip because I was simply feeling run down from taking two trips to campus for a class in the spring and then working so hard, continuously over the summer in CPE. I was tired.
Once on campus, my misadventures continued with some housing related shenanigans, but I was glad to be on campus and happy about seeing so many of my classmates again. The trip included an excursion to the children’s hospital to meet the son that a classmate and his wife were adopting. It was an incredible and fun experience that ended with us gathering around together to bless the new family. For this trip, the big Jeep proved a blessing, as I took a large number of classmates over to the hospital. Reflecting on it, that is one of the reasons I like to drive to campus. Most other students fly, and I feel like it’s my mini-ministry to drive people around, pick up classmates at the airport, and take groups out to dinner. This is something that I have liked to do since I could drive. I loved taking people home who needed a ride in high school. During college, if someone needed to drive up to Chicago or down to St. Louis, I would do it. I drove a friend across the country to LA to move to college. I even worked as a bus driver and drove a special education bus my last year of college. Getting people places is something I find deeply meaningful even with all of its simplicity, and I am glad I can continue to do that for people at my seminary.
Aside from the wonderful times with people, the Bonhoeffer class was exceptional. Taught by Dr. Andry Root, the class looked at Bonhoeffer’s many years as a youth minister. Andy taught the class through really immersive storytelling about Bonhoeffer’s life and wove in theology, our questions, and connections to our contemporary life in a really beautiful and compelling way.