What Haddon Robinson taught one person at seminary

I love this story about Haddon Robinson:

I was a first-year student (a tipoff for anyone who’s ever been or had to deal with a seminary student) and was frustrated with my professor of New Testament. Actually, I was indignant with him, feeling that he was not giving my particular doctrinal position a fair play in his presentations to the class…So I did what any grandiose, first-year seminarian would do. I made an appointment with the president of the seminary, Dr. Robinson.
…Dr. Robinson never addressed my complaint or concerns. Instead, he told me a story. This (or something very much like it) is what he said:
“I’m sure you know that Dr. Burdick’s wife was diagnosed with Alzheimer’s some years ago [Actually, being totally self-absorbed, I had no idea]. Despite his continuing commitment to his ministry here at the seminary, and despite maintaining a full load of teaching, he has refused to put his wife in a nursing home. He gets up in the morning and cares for her: feeding, cleaning, dressing, combing her hair, brushing her teeth. She can do nothing for herself. Nothing. Then he leaves for the seminary, teaches a class, and immediately goes home between classes to care for her again. Then he comes back to teach. The following day, he does it again. He will not allow a nurse or anyone else to do for his wife what he himself can do. He has been doing this for years now.”
“I was talking to Donald one day and, knowing the load he was under, said to him, ‘How do you do it? How do you so faithfully attend to your ministry and, at the same time, give your wife the love and care and attention she needs?'”
“Donald looked at me with tears in his eyes and said, ‘Haddon, it’s the greatest privilege I’ve ever had in my life.'”
As if scripted, his phone rang even as his words were still hanging pregnant in the air. He listened for a few seconds, covered the receiver and, turning to me, said, “We’re done here, aren’t we?”
We were done. I nodded a stunned reply, rose quietly, and left Dr. Robinson’s office. My life had just been changed in ways I was only later to appreciate. What was important in the Christian life, my view of people, my relationship with my wife – it all began to shift at that moment. It continues to change more than 20 years later.
Darryl Dash

Darryl Dash

I'm a grateful husband, father, oupa, and pastor of Grace Fellowship Church Don Mills. I love learning, writing, and encouraging. I'm on a lifelong quest to become a humble, gracious old man.
Toronto, Canada