5.01.2016

I Never Knew Larry Meyer

I never knew Larry Meyer, but if we should ever meet, I feel like we'll somehow recognize one another.  

Larry was, among other things, the Lutheran campus pastor at the University of Nebraska Lincoln for a time.  I never knew him, but his ripples keep bumping into me.

His son, Mikah is embarking on an amazing road trip.  This is the fourth time I've read something online that was inspired by this unassuming Nebraska pastor, and all of the somethings have been so very alive and vibrant and renewing as I read about them.  

How do we live life like that?  

How do we spend our days in a way that leaves ripples?  And not just any ripples, but life-giving ripples that bring sun on a Monday.  I'm starting to think that it is less about trying harder and more about loving and saying thanks, leaning into the fact that we are each uniquely beloved, nothing less than precious and of unimaginable value just as we are.

Without knowing him, I think Larry knew about this kind of love.  Maybe for him, it was a long time coming, etched by experience, or maybe it was just pure gift.  On some level I will never know.

It is hard to not know and know all at once.  These metaphors in life remind me that this is all so beyond my understanding.  All I can do is try to trust.  The "feeling" of faith goes in and out, even though God doesn't.   How do we waken and re-awaken to wonder, making space for the questions?  For some reason, I sense that Larry made space for what mattered, space that didn't always require answers.  

And yet, I can never know this man who seems to re-introduce himself to me from time to time.  If he were still around, I would ask him to tell me more.  I weirdly miss him somehow.  If you knew Larry, what do you think he would say?  I'm curious to know this man I never knew.  For some reason I want to tell him thanks.

"Make it your goal to live a quiet life. . . " (1 Thessalonians 4:11)
Today's Thanks:
 Trading flannel sheets for crisp, white cotton
A twirly blue and white-striped skirt
Two yolks in one egg at breakfast
Small town walks with my family
Your turn. . . 


2 comments:

  1. I knew Brother Larry very well. When I was in college at UNL from 1992 through 1996, he and the Lutheran Student Center he shepherded, were my anchor in a very confusing, swirling place full of competing ideas, philosophies and moralities.

    I came to UNL from a tiny cow town in Western Nebraska with a population that could have fit comfortably in any one of the dorms on campus. I had pledged to Beta Sigma Psi and, it being a fraternity fostered by the Lutheran Church, one of the things we did was spend a lot of time at the Center. Not just on Sundays for his wonderful services, but also during the week to for special events, regular get-togethers and Bible studies.

    Brother Larry, as we Beta Sigs called him since he was a House mentor and honorary member whom we often invited to our events, made the Lutheran Student Center a welcoming and engaging place for us students. I've never been a member of a church before nor since that made me feel like it was my second home like he did. When the fraternity was closed for a while, he invited those of us who still wanted to get together as brothers anyway to have our meetings in the upper room of the Center and he kept on advising us and helped us keep our chapter alive. Now, I hear from current members, that it is back on it's feet and is a better fraternity than it ever was before. A lot of that was due to his efforts.

    He also was a great counselor who would make you feel at ease and like you could actually 'be real' and not have to pretend everything was fine. In fact, he would often ask me what was bothering me without me having to ask him for a moment of his time. I don't know if I would have gotten through college without him.

    Through his sermons and our visits together, I came to realize that I wasn't actually saved and didn't really have that assurance that nothing could shake yet. I had been only acting like a Christian because I was just raised that way and was only doing what everybody else in my community was doing without really having a deep relationship with God. So, I and a few other Beta Sigs, who were in the same situation, went through Catechism with him and he baptized me my second semester at school.

    Even after graduation, we kept in touch and he often had great words of encouragement and advice for me as I tried to get started in my 'real world' life after college. Every time I managed to get back to Lincoln for any reason, I always stopped by the Center to say hi and when he was there, he was always so glad to see me. I'll never forget it.

    I was really sad when I heard he had passed away. I still get emotional about it to this day and my eyes are tearing up while I'm writing this.

    I'm glad that his son, Mikah, has grown into a good man of God. I've read a few articles about him lately and it does my heart good. I remember him as a cute little rug rat who sometimes brightened up the Center in the way only kids can when he was there for family events. :)

    Thanks for writing this article. It's good to know that Brother Larry's legacy is still being felt at UNL. It's been too long since I've been able to come back to campus, so I'm glad to hear this at least through your article and what I've read on the Center's Facebook page.

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  2. John - Thank you so much for this thoughtful post. I got a little teary eyed reading your reflections on this man who clearly meant a lot in your life. Thanks so much for sharing.

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