Recently, through Times & Seasons, I reconnected with a friend from BYU and Law School. Sean Lindsay is now working as an attorney for Qwest in Denver. We first met at BYU, where both of us worked as tutors in the Reading and Writing Center along with another law school classmate, Shawn Bentley. (Just a side note: the Director of the Reading and Writing Center at that time was a kind professor named William Shakespeare!) By the time that I was deciding where to attend law school, Sean had left BYU and was pursuing a Ph.D in English at the University of Chicago.
In the fall of 1986, my wife and I decided to stop by the University of Chicago on our way back to Utah from Wisconsin. (Not exactly “on the way,” but we wanted to check out the environs.) As we walked the Midway in search of the law school building, we were hailed by Sean, who happened to be on his way home. This wasn’t exactly a “sign” that we should choose Chicago, but it sure made us feel comfortable.
When we arrived in Chicago “for good” the next fall, Sean and his wife Laurelei were there to help us get situated, giving us the lay of the land and helping us to secure brooms and cleaning supplies for our new apartment. We learned that Sean had decided against the Ph.D and was enrolling in law school. We would be classmates!
Over the next three years, I marveled at the Lindsays’ capacity for selfless service in the Hyde Park Ward. For me law school was all-consuming, and I did my best to remain only marginally active in a ward that needed more from me. (There is much more to this story, but not now.) During that time, I remember watching Sean with a combination of guilt (for my own limited commitment) and admiration. While I often have a difficult time deciding “what would Jesus do,” I sometimes see reflections of Him in my friends, and that was true of Sean. He performed well in law school, and he served well in the Church. I wanted to be like him. And I suppose I still do.
One of the benefits of being a professor is that you can fool yourself into thinking that you are always young. After all, the students who are sitting in front of you stay the same age year after year. Of course, there are the little reminders of time passing, like when your daughter gets a driver’s permit. Another such reminder came when Sean told me that his son is now 6′ 5″ tall. Funny, law school doesn’t seem that long ago …