Notes from Jan

Small Matters

February 25, 2022

Maggie slept over. I love when the Grands come. Yesterday, with breakfast over, we just sat and talked. Sometimes the conversation turns towards Jud. It’s good to remember, to share the stories. So yesterday, I told her two stories about her grandfather and Lynn, not a woman, a city nearby. An old poem/taunt reminds of her infamous past. “Lynn, Lynn the city of sin. You never come out, the way you came in.” Lynn is one of our oldest cities, industrialized early and a spawning ground for vice long ago.

As you can imagine, Lynn is a very diverse city and the home to many immigrants. As an aside, Jud grew up in a similar place in Fall River, Massachusetts. Jud’s duties were many during his years of service at Gordon. But one he never wanted to shirk was the annual MLK breakfast in Lynn.

It wasn’t about the food, but the recognition. And not of him, but the roles Gordon students played back then in this city. After asking Jud to stand, they thanked him for Valerie(beloved staff) and students who volunteered to make a difference, especially in their schools.

To Jud it demonstrated to a wider community our beliefs. Faith at work in a tough place. Sleeves rolled up to love God by loving our neighbors as ourselves. While our student teachers left a mark in the classroom, others volunteered to teach English to immigrants, tutor students and clean up playgrounds unfit for children.

Then there was the time Jud and I were invited to attend the unveiling of a mural done by Gordon art students for one of the city’s elementary schools. While Jud was surrounded by teachers and Lynn officials, I was lured away by a small child, probably a 3rd grader. She took my hand and pulled me up close to the hall mural, filled with scenes and faces. After pausing in front of a portrait of a child with big brown eyes and dark skin, she pointed, then turned to me and said, “That’s me.”

And so it was.

Then added with head high and a smile to match the mural,

“I matter!”

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  • Reply Maggie Rowe February 26, 2022 at 11:53 am

    Jan, you and Jud both set such a wonderful example of demonstrating that all people matter, especially those most easily overlooked by our society. Thank you for sharing this heartwarming story!

    • Reply Jan Carlberg February 27, 2022 at 3:56 pm

      We loved our years at Gordon and the faculty, staff, students, alums and families we were privileged with serve with and for. That young girl is probably in her twenties now. I wonder if she still knows she matters, especially to Jesus.

  • Reply Dan Russ February 26, 2022 at 5:50 pm

    Dear Jan,
    Your lovely and moving stories remind me of the psalmists who wrote, “Let this be written for a generation not yet born.” May Jud’s and your tribe increase!

    • Reply Jan Carlberg February 27, 2022 at 4:14 pm

      Well, dear Dan, you are part of Gordon’s story and ours. My prayer has been for many years during our tenure at Gordon and as a parent, grandmother and one running last laps, Psalm 71:17-18(NLT). “O God, you have taught me from my earliest childhood, and I have constantly told others about the wonderful things you do. Now that I am old and gray, do not abandon me, O God. Let me proclaim your power to this new generation, your mighty miracles to all who come after me.” I just listened to the memorial service for Dr. George Brushaber, President Emeritus of Bethel University. It was a soul-stirring reminder of the privilege of encouraging young women and men to follow God’s call, engage mind, body and spirit to serve however, wherever in Christ’s name. Thank you for your part, Dan, in helping young people discover “Freedom within a framework of Faith.”

  • Reply Toni Lovingood February 27, 2022 at 2:09 pm

    Dear Jan,

    How true and how thankful that we all matter. Wonderful story!

    • Reply Jan Carlberg February 27, 2022 at 4:16 pm

      Yes, the young girl matters and so do you. And today I think of the Ukrainians and how much they matter…and Russians who are protesting against Putin’s invasion of a sovereign nation. It is a call for us to pray and do what we can to support a world God loves and for whom Jesus died.

  • Reply dale February 28, 2022 at 11:58 am

    Thanks Jan,

    I am not ignoring you or your message. I still remember the anchor news closing statement when he said, “more people than we know are more wounded than we think.” Helping others know they matter helps them consider how they matter to their Creator. I am working with a friend in Poland who is a missionary and church planter and now caring for refuges from Ukraine in their home. It said 100s of Poles have stepped up to do this. Thanks be to God.
    Blessings, Dale

    • Reply Jan Carlberg February 28, 2022 at 7:00 pm

      Oh Dale, I am so proud of the Ukrainian people and of their neighbors, the Poles. They are living out the neighborly part of the greatest commandment to love God and our neighbors as ourselves. Thank you for whatever you are doing to help< Dale. This is a call to all of us to do what we can. I pray for the Ukrainians, they are David versus Goliath. Today I prayed for their 5 smooth stones. It sounds like the Polish people are one of those stones.

  • Reply Alyssa Arnold March 4, 2022 at 7:03 pm

    I was born in Fall River! Small world. Lovely post, Jan.

    • Reply Jan Carlberg March 4, 2022 at 9:26 pm

      I knew there was something extra special about you, Alyssa! Yes, it is a small world…and a hurting one.

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