Friday, May 14, 2010

PawPaw Jimmie

Last night before the exam, I got a chance to talk on the phone with my grandfather. This is my father's father, who is (or was, before retiring) a Southern Baptist minister. He's a delightful and warm person, full of humorous stories. I told him about my exam, and he told me a story from when he was in seminary.

He had a professor there who I'll call Dr. Smith, since I can't remember his actual name. At seminary, apparently they started every class off with a prayer, and though most professors would ask one of the students to lead the prayer, Dr. Smith always led it himself. My grandfather said that he would start in to praying and you got the feeling that he was always in conversation with God and you were listening in at this one moment.

But before exams, the prayer was chillingly different. "Father," he would says, "provided that these students have studied diligently, please help them to recall what they have learned." My grandfather said this was not the most encouraging message; during an exam you'd rather have unconditional bolts of knowledge!

At the end of our conversation, he asked if he could pray with me over my exam, and I readily agreed. (I am more or less an atheist, but I never mind being prayed over or with.) He left off the "provided she has studied diligently" condition. Whew.

(An actual picture, found online, of my grandfather and late grandmother.)


Sally said...

Hah, that professor was tough.

Tam said...

I wish I could reproduce on a blog the way my grandfather related this line. He has kind of a grand, slow, southern/New Orleans, preacherly tone.