This is my twentieth year as a college professor. It has not become “old” for me yet and this year with my youngest son and a nephew packing to move into the residence I see the newness and nervousness through their eyes. In Joyce Rupp’s book, Dear Heart Come Home, she describes a number of images of midlife generativity that can be applied uniquely to my role as a college professor who teaches primarily in the area of spiritual formation.

I want to be an apple with seeds in it reminding me of the potential of growth in all students.

I want my classroom to be a holy shrine where students can come and feel a sense of peace, wonder, and oneness.

I want my life to be a womb where I can provide a safe place for inquiry and help generate life for those who are searching for it.

I am convinced that if I can be honest and vulnerable with my own process of formation, others will draw courage and comfort from it because they will see some of their own life reflected in mine. This sharing is not easy for me to do. As an introvert I sometimes feel as if I am standing spiritually naked in front of gawking students. But I also believe I am called to do this and I want to honor this call and I feel privileged to walk with students on their journey of spiritual formation.