Wild and Precious Life

Joyce grew up during the depression and World War II. She was one of five sisters and one brother, living on a farm by Collinwood Lake, near Dassel.

When I was young, a perfect day involved having time to ride horseback.

I guess, while growing up, we would have been considered ‘Christmas and Easter’ Lutherans. My mom was a Christian Scientist but didn’t drive, so had no way to get to her church. My father, from Norway insisted we all got confirmed as Lutherans.

Joyce lives out her faith in the way her mother tried to teach her.

Show concern for people, help when there’s a need, and live a life that might reflect God’s teaching. My mom taught me so much about love and loving and compassion. She never allowed any criticisms about others.

When Joyce graduated from high school, her father asked her if she wanted to go to college and become a teacher or a nurse, but she went right to work so that she would be able to travel and “live life with a capital L.”

Tell me, what is in your plan to do with your one wild and precious life from The Summer Day by contemporary American poet Mary Oliver

Joyce married John at age nineteen, and they had four children. They lived in Alaska and St. Louis Park before moving to Buffalo, where John worked as a state trooper.

When moving to Buffalo with four young children, we considered trying different churches, hoping to find a ‘fit.’ One Sunday, one of our first new friends called and said “Get your boys ready, I’m taking them to Sunday school with Reed,” and it was decided!

Because John’s work hours as a trooper were so varied, he didn’t get to church with any regularity, so it surprised me when he insisted that he wanted to be included in Zion’s participants in the Bethel Series. It was a four year commitment and he insisted on my participation. I’m so grateful! I’m not fearful of challenging questions or questioning of my faith or belief in the Bible’s teachings.

Joyce’s favorite Bible passage is Psalm 8:3-5, and especially verses 4 and 5:

When I consider Your heavens, the work of Your fingers,
The moon and the stars, which You have ordained,
What is man that You are mindful of him,
And the son of man that You visit him?
For You have made him a little lower than the angels,
And You have crowned him with glory and honor.

It seems so huge and encompassing and powerful. It makes me feel humble and excited.

One of Joyce’s favorite things about Zion is that there are a variety of opportunities for all ages, and caring people.

The atmosphere reminds me of St Francis of Assisi, who felt God intended his people to feel joy and happiness with Him. It makes me question the early puritan’s narrow ways.

Joyce has volunteered in a number of ways at Zion over the years, including serving with confirmation and Sunday school, on the Global Missions Committee and Church Council, as a Bethel Series teacher, and as a delegate to the Minneapolis Area Synod.

I’ve felt such gratitude to God when I look at the span of my 88 years, and it seems miraculous that from a depression era farm I’ve done so much and raised a family of four. We’ve survived illness and accidents.

Joyce worked at the Buffalo Junior High for 23 years, and then worked selling pull tabs to keep supporting her travels..

Early on, we made travel a priority, covering all fifty states, numerous trips to Europe, various Caribbean islands, the Orient, and finally Australia, John’s last trip.

Joyce completed their “bucket list” by going to every country in Europe and all seven continents.

Reading has always been a priority and I’ve added sewing and knitting. I did some painting and a writing group, but always have books with a bookmark in place.

When you see Joyce, ask her about her recent tattoo.