After undergrad, I went straight on to get my Master of Theological Studies. In Boston. We started class 9/12/2001. It was intense timing. One of the first classes I enrolled in was Islam in America. I was surprised to be granted the opportunity to be one of the few students in the lecture, as selected by the professor. It was a small seminar, and my first semester in the program, so I wasn’t certain it would work out for me to join. I suppose I had as might right as anyone to be there, but to be honest, little credibility or reason.
And how little I knew. I once butchered the name of a famous scholar, because I hadn’t ever seen it before and just simply didn’t know how to pronounce it. (And of course hadn’t researched it, wide-eyed wonder that I was.) The professor didn’t bat an eye and gently told me how his name is pronounced. I was probably at least tomato red, but she just had me go on and make my point. She built a safe place where we could learn. Us non-Muslim students were honored to go to the local mosque with our Muslim sisters, who were so gracefully coping with insults and threats of violence everyday.
Our professor led us in exploration and held on while our eyes adjusted to the beauty of what we were there to learn about. So much grace.