Living Lessons from Holden Village
by Barbara Daniels
A group of Prince of Peace and Lutheran Campus Ministry members recently returned from a stay at Holden Village in the North Cascades. These are some reflections on my time there. I call them ‘living lessons’, not ‘life lessons’ , because to me ‘life lessons’ sounds way too presumptuous, and these thoughts represent only my current takeaways – my insights and conclusions could certainly shift in the future.
1. The journey can be just as important as getting there. From Logan, Holden Village is a 1 ½ day drive, plus a one hour boat ride, and then a 45 minute bus ride. The view changes from freeway/cities, to rural highways, and finally to just the lake, trees, and surrounding mountains. As we traveled, I felt my concerns about work, schedules, and general ‘busyness’ slowly fall away. The five of us in the vehicle certainly got to know each other better and even worked on the skill of learning about each other without asking questions. Time between spaces can be equally valuable as time at our destinations.
2. Pack lightly, but do take what you need. As mentioned above, five of us traveled in one vehicle, and that vehicle also carried our luggage for the week. We needed to take the minimum for our needs (cold weather, outdoor activities) but it all had to fit! We seemed to hit the right balance, and some of the extras – a bag of delicious dried apples, fun games, and a box of wine --- might have seemed frivolous at the beginning but turned out to add a lot to our time there. Make space for things that promote community.
3. Share space graciously. Holden is a small village in which anywhere from 100 to 500+ people live together, in a very remote setting. It is very comfortable, but that is because the residents – permanent, short-term, and visitors like us – are careful to be individually responsible for themselves and their setting. Things like hand washing, fire safety, and dealing with your own garbage instead of leaving it for someone else were emphasized. Living in community takes some thoughtfulness, but the rewards of getting to know others and yourself better are well worth it.
Finally, at Holden I also appreciated that worship takes many forms. Each day there was some type of corporate service which varied from poems and prayers read at mealtimes, to a spontaneous hymn sing, to Bible study, to vespers. Yet worship was also found in a labyrinth packed into the snow, in the high mountains around us, and even in the creative rhythms of knitting and weaving. Take a deep breath and be present wherever you are – you don’t need to go to a remote village to thank God for His gifts of life and community.
This blog is run by the council members of Prince of Peace Lutheran Church in Logan, UT. For more information, check out our church's website at princeopeace.org.