Wednesday, December 16, 2009

Chase is Home

One of the best aspects of teaching has to be the privilege of watching how a young person's passion carries him (or her) into a rewarding life.

Our family has known Chase Chisholm ever since we moved to town 16 years ago. Chase grew up in Forest City, keeping busy with ability-stretching activities like musicals, cross country, and student council. I had the privilege of being Chase's confirmation teacher during his ninth grade year, a role that gave me insight into his compassionate nature and creative thought process.

I watched him struggle with his decision about where to go to college. He was attracted to Waldorf College's outstanding communications program but itched to bust out of his small hometown to see the world. In fact, he nearly made it into the Paris "Real World" cast - a road not taken that would have surely altered his life in ways that will forever remain unknown. Instead, this Bill's Family Foods grocery checker committed to stay small-town for three years - long enough to earn an accelerated BA (with a summer studying in Europe) - and I'm so glad he did. Both Mark and I thoroughly enjoyed his contributions in our courses and other ways he simply shared life.

Chase left a large imprint on the Waldorf College campus, evident by his selection as the college's President's Award recipient in 2005. Since then he's worked as a graphic artist, a broadcaster, and a waiter in Sioux Falls, S.D.; sang with a Lutheran Youth Encounter team during its appointment to Hong Kong; assisted with the branding of an organization for persons with disabilities; and helped launch a website for a magazine of the ELCA.

In the spring of 2008 our family bid Chase farewell as he prepared to serve two years with the Peace Corps in Georgetown, Guyana, with an assignment to teach technology to students at Open Doors Centre for Persons with Disabilities. Their need and his passion match beautifully, something easily witnessed even half a world away through the wonder of Facebook. His photography and notes about daily life convey the essence of who he is at the core, a man who misses little of life because no detail is deemed insignificant. It's clear that those he teaches eagerly drink the life he pours in large portions.

I've always thought of Chase as a bit of a pied-piper. Everyone who encounters him is attracted to his open, caring spirit and would likely follow him anywhere. You get a strong sense that he can help you find the fun while appreciating everything that might cross your path. So you can imagine our family's joy this afternoon as we got to share life with Chase in person again. Such a privilege. I hope you enjoy a few minutes with us too.

.P.S.- Chase, send me this photo so I can make it bigger!! :-)


Jessa said...

Oh, how fun! Thank you for posting this video, Joy!

Jessa said...

Oh, how fun! Thanks for posting this video, Joy!

C H A S E said...

You! YOU! Joy! Your words mean so much to me. Thank you for being so thoughtful. I cannot believe it has been 16 years!

While driving home last night, I thought about how I used to watch your family at "Outdoor Worship" when Skye was a baby. Even then I was intrigued. Your family has always interacted so beautifully. What an example for us all!

I will send you the photos soon!

Thanks again for everything, Joy. Merry Christmas. It is good to be "home". :)

Becky B. said...

This is fantastic! have a new calling as a TV interviewer!

And just so you know...the day before Chase left the midwest, he was traipsing around Minneapolis in a button down shirt and a scarf...didn't want to be bogged down with a coat:) You were amazingly accurate with your prediction! You know our friend well!!

Joy said...

Thanks, Becky! These are so fun to do. Next time you're in town, perhaps we can do one. We'll think of you as an honorary comm alumni. :-) You'd have fantastic stuff to share.

And thanks for the verification of the weather prediction. Sub-zero weather isn't so bad. PROLONGED sub-zero weather - a fully different matter!