Today’s Author: Kent Olson

We can all think of times, decisions we made, not made, or made for us that changed the directions of our lives. A choice of a school, a career, a partner, a family, a home, … The “what if” questions can perplex us but we never know how other paths may have turned out.

I have two Norwegian “uncles” that have two different stories of immigration and almost immigration. 

The older uncle is maybe three generations previous, a great uncle or maybe a great-great-uncle on my mother’s side. He immigrated to the U.S. and made a good life, married, and had a family on a farm in central Iowa. My mother talked about her elderly uncle being very friendly, usually in a rocking chair at the end of his life. Later she learned that he had been very homesick for the family and life he left behind in Norway. My mother was sad that this nice, friendly uncle had felt so sad. He had forged a connection to a new life in America, perhaps better than what life would have been back in Norway, but he still yearned for those he left behind. Travel was not as easy or relatively cheap in his day as it is in ours. 

Photo by Damir Spanic on Unsplash

My other uncle was ready to immigrate. He was packed, standing on the dock of his home island in the Stavanger fjord for the first leg of his journey. Then he decided he could not leave his home, his family, his land. He walked home, made a good life, married, and had a family on the island he grew up on. We had the good fortune of meeting him and my “cousin” and her family during one visit to Norway. He was in the late stages of cancer at the time of our visit, but we could walk with his wife and my cousin over their land and hear of their life due to him deciding not to immigrate. It was a good life.

One of these uncles sacrificed his past to create a new future in a new land. The other uncle sacrificed a new future in order to keep his past. Who was right? We do not know, never will. Our family stories do not have them hearing an angel telling them what to do. We just know the result of their decision. 

For us today, we just know that we are here, listening, looking for what God asks us to do. And what does the Lord ask? As written in Micah 6:8: “He has told you, O mortal, what is good; and does the Lord require of you but to do justice, and to love kindness, and to walk humbly with your God?” (NRSV).

Dear God, please be with us as we discern what you are wanting in the world. Help us to see how to do justice, to love kindness, and to walk humbly. Where we have disconnected, help us reconnect. Where we have dropped your perspective, help us reconnect. Be with us, God. Amen.

“Mid-week devotions are authored by members of our community.  If you are interested in creating a trio of reflections to be shared on an upcoming Tuesday, Wednesday, and Thursday contact Pastor Peter.