Three weeks ago, I moved across the river from my hometown of St. Paul, into a 100-year-old house in Minneapolis. I did this with five housemates I’d met four days earlier at LVC’s National Orientation in Chicago. The housemates, in the photo from left to right, are Cassandra, from Ohio via the University of Dayton; Adam, from Iowa via Luther College; Hannah, from Wisconsin via Augsburg College; Kristen, from Colorado via St. Olaf College; and Disket, from India via St. Olaf College (I’m second from the right).
As the only Minnesotan in the group, I might be expected to be the resident expert on the Twin Cities, but that role often falls to Hannah, who, as an Augie, knows Minneapolis much better than I ever did. It’s been a pleasure getting to know my hometown’s twin a little better these past few weeks, exploring on foot or by bus. Within a ten-minute walk, we have a library, a grocery store, a dollar store, the Somali mall, and a few cafes. If we walk a bit father, my housemates and I can reach the Midtown Global Market, complete with cuisine and clothes from all around the world, or the famed music store the Electric Fetus.
I’m glad to be settling in now, both to my house and to my placement. LVC orientation, while thrilling, also scared me. It really made me wonder whether I’m ready to live out all of LVC’s values, all the time. As a Christian, I thought a lot about Micah 6 during orientation, because LVC’s values seem to mirror Micah 6. That passage asks what God requires of us and responds that we are to do justice, to love kindness, and to walk humbly before God. But what does it really mean to do justice? Surely it means doing more than I have done in the past, since I’ve always been the type to spend most of my free time reading in my room by myself. Am I equipped to do otherwise than I have, to be transformed, and to truly act on what I believe? That is, after all, what I signed up for.
So far the reality of LVC has been a bit gentler than I feared at orientation. I’ve paid attention to the people around me in my neighborhood and on my bus commute, and I’ve given what I could to those who have asked. But I’ve also spent time alone in my room, reading, because continuing that practice is important to my self-care. My housemates and I have attended events in our community and plan to attend more, but we also celebrated Cassandra’s birthday. I have not been good at living into the theological both/and, but I’m starting to learn to live a life that is community-oriented but incorporates time alone; that takes things seriously but has time for frivolity; that works hard but also takes breaks. And I think that’s what I need from this year.
Linnea Peterson, a Luther College alum, is serving this year at MicroGrants in Minneapolis, MN.