I went to Wesley Theological Seminary in Washington, D.C.; those were some of the best years of my life. I loved everything about being there and I knew it was just the right place for me. I was working three part time jobs so I could go full time and complete my degree in three years; so sometimes dollars were seriously thin.
During the more difficult days, I was summoned to the dean of students’ office for consultation. My tuition was behind. I had been attending classes although I really wasn’t allowed during this time; but I didn’t want to fall behind in my work. The dean asked a few questions about my situation and suggested that perhaps this wasn’t the right time for me to be in school. It was that question that sparked the passionate reply that grabbed the dean’s attention. If there was anything I was sure of that day, it was that I was in exactly the right place at the right time. It was exactly what God had ordained for me for that season of my life. And I knew it because of the breath of new life I had enjoyed since I’d enrolled and begun classes.
One of the things I loved about Wesley was the instructors. Some of them were quite intellectual and full of information. They weren’t the touchy feely kind who made you want to spend time with them over meals. Some of them were so well traveled and well read that they were a touch foreboding – great teachers nevertheless.
What I loved about them, young and old, was that eventually you would meet Jesus in each of them. What that means for a Black Baptist is that at some point their tenderness for their Savior became evident in the middle of a lesson, without warning and with infectious joy. And that was always a glorious moment.
The dean said to me, once we found common ground, “I’ll go with you to talk to [the financial director],” and I put on my big girl pants and said I could do it on my own. The goal was to arrange payments I could actually make. She stood a little taller as she said to me, “But if I go and speak to him, it’ll make a difference.” That has stayed with me for almost 30 years.
If I go…If I ask…it will make a difference. And that kind of confidence should rest in each of our hearts. That it will make a difference if I ask because of my relationship with the Lord. You know how little kids do it. “You want me to ask my Daddy to get you the ice cream? He’ll do it!”
“My Daddy will do it. My Daddy will take you. My Daddy will protect you.”
Isn’t that the spirit of a child? Isn’t that why we’re told to come to the kingdom of God as little children?
Anyway, we went to the office of the financial director and the dean merely stood in the doorway. She said, “I’m bringing Rev. Dorothy Boulware to you. Perhaps you two can work something out that will bring her into good standing with the school.”
And she turned and walked away.
He asked if I could possibly pay $20 a month until the arrears was caught up.
Are you kidding me? $20? All day long I can pay it! And all was well. And all remained well through graduation a year later.
Because she asked.