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Where I'm From: Part II

by Don Meyer, Ph.D. | Jan 24, 2015

“Life can be understood backwards; but it must be lived forwards.”
Soren Kierkegaard

Last week I stepped back into my childhood by sharing on the topic “Where I’m From: Part I.” This week I will share my journey through my adult years.

I am from a college in Missouri where this farm boy met my city girl sweetheart who later became my wife. That city girl has brought more joy into my life than I ever thought possible. She is my inspiration, soulmate, partner, support and best friend in the entire world. She has lightened every load and brightened every storm. Her life has made my life complete. 

I am from a graduate school in Illinois; universities in Minnesota, Massachusetts and Israel (where I experienced the pain of my first kidney stone attack), all where I learned that the more I learned the more I didn’t know, all while dreaming of one day teaching in college.

I am from being a bi-vocational pastor in a small Pennsylvania town for seven years (also working at PennDOT buying right-of-way to build roads) where we celebrated the building of a new church, the birth of a son and later twin sons, and our first McDonald’s in town. I am from the pain of standing at the graveside of one of those 3-day-old twin sons. I am from still having a dream of one day teaching in college.

I am from being the father of two sons who declared, “Dad is more funner than all my toys.” 

I am from teaching 21 years and being an administrator for 18 of those years in a college in Minnesota. There I discovered Garrison Keillor’s mythical Lake Wobegon, the land of 10,000 lakes, the joys of cheering for the Twins and Vikings in the downtown Metrodome (where one son sold hot dogs to earn money for college). I am from friends with names like Johnson, Olson, Anderson and Swanson. 

I am from I-35 and I-95, from concerts in the Guthrie Theater, and shopping at the Mall of America. I am from icy roads and nights colder than  minus 50 degrees. I am from a heart-stopping phone call informing us our son was a passenger in a car accident with potential head trauma, and to the joy of his hospital release the next day with only minor cuts and bruises. I am from ice fishing, the great Minnesota Fair, the North Shore and Minnehaha Park.

I am from playing tennis with my teenage sons in the park across the street from our home, where some evenings we made “sound shots” as darkness diminished our ability to see. I am from helping my sons learn to study, laugh, catch a baseball, change a tire, drive and garden. I am from taking them on vacation with our pop-up camper and yellow smiley-face string lights, visiting all but five of the lower 48 states; from sharing great pride with their mother as we watched them graduate from high school and college. I am from watching one son move into the business world while the other became a Minneapolis public elementary school teacher.

I am from officiating at and sharing in the joy of the weddings of our two sons; from nine and 13 years later sharing the pain of their divorces, and watching them with pride as they journeyed through those difficult times modeling kindness, character, and grace, and now seeing them each ultimately find their own joy and fulfillment.   

I am from a left-handed 11-year-old grandson who loves Poppy’s “World famous Bar-B-Ques,” sports, jokes, trips to Pennsylvania, cruises, Hershey’s Chocolate World and the Florida Keys. He has an incredible sense of humor, a million-dollar smile, and Grammy and Poppy love to spoil him. 

I am from living a few months in Belgium, and from visits to Korea, Argentina,  Kenya, Turkey, India, Finland, Nigeria, Honduras; from experiencing the Great Migration in Kenya, hearing a choir in the Notre Dame Cathedral in Paris, and grieving in Auschwitz, Poland.

I am currently from 18 years as president of a college that recently became a university; from precious students and trusted colleagues, to serving with great community friends in beautiful and growing Phoenixville.

I am from the same place my friend Dr. Rhoden described when he said his “life had exceeded his dreams.”

Think about it.

Dr. Don Meyer is President of 
University of Valley Forge, Phoenixville, Pa. 
Responses can be mailed to president@valleyforge.edu 
Official page: Facebook.com/DrDonMeyer
Follow on Twitter: @DrDonMeyer
Archives at www.valleyforge.edu/thinkaboutit