Three hours of class a day, concerning one topic. The January Series, a series of talented persons sharing visions of better living. Kill-a-watt, a competition across dorms to see which can most participate in ecologically responsible practices. A vast number of students abroad. Nearly ten thousand scholarship essays to be written. These mark the season of interim at Calvin.
It marks a space of difference and reconsideration, where, after the holidays, campus allows a different pace. Topics for interim classes are frequently unusual (Quilting & Bridge are among the available courses this year), so not only is there a real unity in focus, but often the object of study is itself unique, a fracture in routine. It is a period where the facts of life at Calvin converge with looking ahead to the kind of world to be desired, and the habits of personal life come into close examination within a community doing the same. How are we in respect to creation, to each other, to our gifts and responsibilities, to the good hope in life? The peculiar characteristics of interim allow a rare moment where it is commonly understood: we in winter look ahead to a time where we will better offer ourselves as fertile soil to more and more of the excellent and praiseworthy.
I walked Grand Rapids with a good friend this last weekend. I spent a few dollars hidden from my tuition payment on Madcap Coffee and a vegan sandwich from Stella's. The snow was as dense in the air as on the ground, white in every direction. I'd lost my hat, so my shaved scalp was bare to the tickle of the large, healthy flakes. We waited for the bus, and I found myself laughing in the beauty of such a moment, such a space, such a posture for life: the view from interim is like the view from childhood. So much given, so much received, so much yet to give and receive. And the simple request in respect to all such dedication and wonder,
"Let it also be me."