Thursday, December 18, 2008

English 107

I was honored in the fall of 1970 to "test out" of English 101, 103, and 105 and move right into English 107 my first semester at Moody Bible Institute. That landed me under the care of Professor Helen Needham. Day Two of the semester--or was it Day One?--I realized the honor came with a price tag. Miss Needham ran a tight ship and brooked no excuses. She demanded excellence and pried out of us things we didn't even know we could do with words.

She lit a fire in me, a passion to use words for God's glory, to sculpt them and poke at them with a stick until they woke up. She urged words out of me, and wouldn't allow me to miss the deeper meanings in poetry, great literature, and the Word.

I sat under her teaching just those two semesters. I sit even now under the influence of what she planted in me and coaxed out of me.

Yesterday, the Moody Alumni News brought word that she died in May of 2007. A year and a half ago. At the age of 98. Today, I'm in mourning.

But I'm celebrating her life. And I'm grateful for the intricacy of God's plan that dictated I would walk into a classroom and find her waiting there.