As I write this, I am also sifting, sorting, and packing for a move to the Pacific Northwest. Sylvia has taken a call to serve as pastor of Fir-Conway Lutheran Church, in Mount Vernon, Wash. It is a chance for her to experience a second call, for us to live near family in Seattle, and for this life-long Midwesterner (except for three years in Southern California during seminary) a chance to live between the mountains and the sea.
Yes, I am looking forward to the move – a new adventure! – but I confess to also feeling ungrounded. I am leaving behind many friends in Madison and going to a place that is 2,000 miles away. I have had to do lots of letting go, because I know (since I have done this before) despite even the best intentions, I will see but few of my friends here again.
My Buddhist friends tell me that the Sanskrit word “samsara” (their word for the craziness of being human) literally means, “wandering around.” Christians know this state, too, having been banished from the garden near the very beginning. We might think that the feeling of unsettledness or dissatisfaction is unique to our fast-paced, mobile life, but people of all generations have felt this in one way or another.
So, amid change, what grounds me? I have a strong spiritual life, fed by heavy doses of meditation and devotional reading. These are my favorites, but there are many activities that can be grounding: time in the shop or the studio, long walks in the woods, digging in the garden, playing with children or grandchildren, making music, breathing deeply the breath that God gave us even before our exile – all these and more – whatever we put our whole heart into.
While it was a long time ago, this work of grounding began for me at Luther – probing more deeply, exploring more broadly, dreaming more expansively. This work continues with new generations of students in the sciences and the arts, in literature and languages and in a broad range of human endeavors. And you can help sustain it. Every contribution counts! Every gift makes a difference! You can make a gift today by using the attached form and the reusable envelope or by visiting givenow.luther.edu.
Thanks for your friendship then and now, and thanks for all you do for Luther and for the world!
Soli Deo Gloria!
1975 Class Agent
Tom Hellie concluded his term as chair of the Board of Directors of the Council of Independent Colleges in January 2018, and will retire from his position as president of Linfield College in McMinnville, Ore., in June.
Steve Lovick is director of IT at Rheem Manufacturing in Fort Smith, Ark.