In the Jock Jams era of the 90’s, I followed my good friend from our small high school in Kansas to Bethany College in Lindsborg. I swear to you that Bethany taught me how to think and how to be with people better. I learned to share, for instance.
Now, in a cool evolution, my husband’s career brought us back to Lindsborg and Bethany College. Dane is in his third academic year as the Athletic Director (or “Dean of Athletics” as he is most officially titled) and this year, because of a bunch of stuff that isn’t worth going into, he is also the Interim Dean of Students.
I’m not going to lie, I wasn’t real excited about this double Dean gig. Dane brings out the best in me and when I parent by myself, well, I’m not at my best. I initially was oh so tense about Dane’s extra time at the college and the additional phone calls that he received when he was at home. Then, one day, Dane was told that as the Dean of Students he and his family have a meal plan at the college.
I actually love to cook. We are an eat-at-the-table type of family and always have been. BUT, if we go to the college to eat, we could be with Dane more! I could spend my time at home more focused on the boys and not multi-tasking with supper preparations. Plus, I knew the food is good. (Yay Sodexo!) I was pumped.
So, just like I did twenty years ago, I go to the “Caf” to eat! The boys and I meet Dane, we scurry around and collect our meals, and we dine at a table together… with a few hundred students. I’m learning the students’ names. We exchange head nods and fist bumps. (Check that - the boys get the fist bumps.) I’m getting to know about the students' lives.
I sit there in the middle of the hustle and bustle with my plate of tasty international fare and am often in awe. These are capable young people who are learning how to think... how to share... they are becoming... and they are intentionally discerning their vocation in and for the world. What amazingly good things will these students do?! I have great hope! Seriously!
I’ve gotten much less tense about the extra time that Dane has to be at the college and what he continues to navigate when he is home. I get now that he is a part of the development of the good of all of these people who will be a part of the good for other people.
Likewise, Dane understands my drive to further Fair Trade because he knows the situation of the artisans and farmers with whom we partner. Diego, Maria, Oscar… Dane has met them with me. He has given them culturally appropriate greetings akin to head nods and fist bumps. He understands why I am compelled to expand their market so that they have the money they need to provide for their families.
We will never meet all of the Fair Trade producers or know everyone’s whole story, but we get that we are supposed to be a part of the rest of the story. We are to help provide security for basic needs that allows them space so they can grow into their own vocation in and for the world.
As I get older, I’m only more passionate about focusing on my call and supporting my husband as he focuses on his. We are both, in our own ways, trying to enable and equip other people so that they may live more fully into their own call.
May we all do that which makes this a better place for all of God’s people. That is an awe inspiring vision. It gives me hope! Seriously! May it be so.