09 January 2009

Finding My Spot By The Fire

One of the most endearing memories I have of Larry, my mentor and campus pastor, comes from this time of year. Larry hated winter. I mean, he despised being cold with every fiber of his not-so-well-padded being. Skinny Germans with high metabolisms do not fare well north of the Mason-Dixon line, and even in Lincoln, Nebraska, winter can get cold. So, for a few months every year, Larry would come to the Student Center and immediately throw on the burgundy sport coat he kept in his office for just such weather. Then, when one of us pyromaniacs in the Student Center community would come in and build a fire, he'd come out of his office and find his spot by the fire. He'd warm his hands in front of the grate, and have a seat at the table. If it was really cold, he'd stand just to the left of the fireplace, with his skinny butt pressed up against the stones to keep himself warm.

One of the things I first noticed about the Lutheran Center here in Ames was the fireplace - it's almost exactly like the one in Lincoln. In fact, I have my suspicions that, given the similiarities in construction and the roughly concurrent construction dates, our buildings share the same architect and/or designer. Today, in a burst of inspiration, I finally figured out where my own spot by the fire will be. I've moved two of our wingback chairs on either side of the fireplace, set up a reading lamp, and made myself cozy. With a cup of hot chocolate at my side and a fire burning merrily in the fireplace, it's a nice spot to be.

And so goes the continuing saga of campus ministry for me. Ames is beginning to feel more and more like "our town," which is very good. The campus ministry game is slowing down for me, in football terms: like a quarterback who's learning a complicated offense, I'm starting to see how things fit together and the subtle nuances that can really make or break our ministry. Today, as I sat here writing my sermon, it occurred to me that perhaps someone will remember me in this spot like I remember Larry in his, and if that were to happen, well, I'd be pretty happy to be remembered so fondly. (Except for one of our students, who can't come into the building when there's a fire in the fireplace because of soot and airborne particulate allergies. So, I guess there's only one guarantee, and that's that D will NEVER remember me like this. :-) )

So, here are warm Friday wishes to you all, from my comfy spot by the fire. Peace, friends.


ps: if you are of the praying sort, please keep my friend Ellen in your prayers - she's received a pretty scary bit of health news today. thanks.


  1. it is a continual finding your way, discovering your spot... but it sounds good, all good that you continue to grow and live into the new call... sounds just right!

    PS - wouldn't mind a fire myself today with freezing rain and now blowing snow. brrr!

  2. HC - Why do you think I'm here today? :-)

  3. Your post reminded me of my freshman year at Michigan State -- a small-town gal from a graduating class of 143 and a Pietist LCMS background -- when I got hooked up with Lutheran Campus Ministry. I remember sitting not near a fireplace, but cross-legged on the floor in the office of the local ALC/LCA campus ministry's pastoral intern, drinking Liebraumilch with her and with a roomful of other students I didn't know. I looked around and thought, "I really like these people. I think this is where I need to be." And how ironic that, 30 years later, I'm pretty much still in the same place.;-)

  4. Ames is lucky to have you, my friend, and we are your lucky blog readers. Your words always bring such peace. Thank you!

  5. Dad used to put me to work at the Center when I was home for winter break during college. I have memories of sitting in my coat by the fire at the Center, stuffing envelopes and whatnot, because Dad had turned down the thermostat while the students were away, leaving anyone who remained shivering in the building. I always chalked it up to a typical frugal Dad thing...your version is more poetic. :-)
    Thanks for sharing,

  6. I see that my big sister beat me here! Thanks for the (literally) "warm" memories, Scott. I teared up picturing your description of skinny Pops trying to keep warm.

    I try to keep up with you and Matt Schur via your blogs, but don't click over enough. It's always heartening to read your collective posts and see the work you guys are doing these days. It would make Dad so quietly proud to see what you're all doing years later. It makes me happy in his stead. Thanks, Scott. (And don't forget that he was a clueless new campus pastor once. The only thing he ever did was be himself. I'm sure you're leading in exactly the same authentic way.)