Holden Voices: Blog

Poems, stories, and reflections, written by faculty, staff, and volunteers currently serving in the Village.

AVA OLSON: Becoming Human

February 13, 2015 at 11:27 AM

Although I'm not much of a creative writer or poetic at all, I couldn't leave without expressing my thanks and gratitude to Holden and what I will miss most about this Village.

Signing up for this trip, I was just excited not to be at St. Olaf while my friends were off on some crazy adventures. It would also get my religion credit out of the way. I never would have thought that in the end, it truly would take a piece of me and teach me such important lessons.

During the first week, we started studying Dietrich Bonhoeffer, and our call in life, and a bit of what it means to live in community with others. This was the beginning of so many questions I've asked this month. What does living faith look like? Why do I believe the things I believe? What is my call in life?

The next week we read Consuming Religion, and I realized how consumptive I am and became more conscious of my waste. I think this was the week our class became knitting addicts too. We think we're such producers.

This week we finished up Becoming Human by Jean Vanier and really enjoyed learning about loneliness, belonging, God within that, and how to be more inclusive of those who are different than you.

And that's only what I learned in class. We've had a whole lot of fun this month too: Chuck and Peg’s Dr. Seuss welcome, Little House on the Prairie (aka L-HOP) marathons, crafts on crafts, ski and snowshoe adventures, celebrating my birthday (which everyone made so incredibly special), the candlelit labyrinth, and so much more. Holden has planted seeds in me that I hope will sprout other times in my life.

Thank you all for the smiles. Thank you for opening up your lives and sharing your stories with me, sometimes before I even knew your name. I'll never forget them and wish I had time to hear more. Thank you for teaching me about being intentional, with plans, relationships and overcoming fears. Thank you for sharing your beautiful talents with us too. Thank you for inspiring me to question things I never have before.

I like this part from Becoming Human: “We may be different in race, culture, religion and capacities, but we are all the same, with vulnerable hearts, the needs to grow, to develop our capacities and to find our place in the world.” I saw, felt and experienced this at Holden.