by Jenna Olson Popp
This might not be surprising, but I’ve been thinking a lot about The Lutheran Center building coming down lately.
Over the past four years, I have smiled when thinking about this topic because of all the stress and problems this building has caused us. The continuous water problems, the fact that we have no safe tap water to drink, showing the Terminix guy around to where all the ants are. It’s all been hilarious to me because I know I would cry if I thought about it too long. Even this move out of the building has me wanting to take the first sledgehammer to the walls because I am so ready to get. everything. out.
But now it’s changing. The clock is ticking. This building as we know it will be gone forever in just a few short weeks.
I’ve moved a couple times in my life, both into new homes and new church buildings. I’ve even had a handful of different offices in my short tenure here at the LC. But all of the places I’ve moved from still remain. If I ever get that nostalgic feeling running through my veins, I can drive on over to La Salle street and see my first adorable Lincoln home. I even drive by the church I grew up in every time I drive down 27th street.
I moved out of these places but they’re still there. They still hold my memories. And if I ever get forgetful, I can easily go back to these buildings and be reminded of my previous life.
But I won’t have this luxury with the LC building, and that’s really hitting me now. I won’t ever see the old purple tile in the lounge that was a pain to clean but really highlighted the era of the building. I won’t ever sit at the weird slab of wood that was held up by filing cabinets that I called my office desk for two years. Never again will I experience the tiny staircase going down to the kitchen or the freezing sanctuary in the winter months. These were quirks that we all laughed about, that made this broken and beat up building the beautiful home that it was.
These buildings hold our memories – or at least they hold mine – and it will be hard for me to watch it come down. To know that this project is literally taking apart so many alumni’s first homes, places of weddings and baptisms, and rooms where deep and Spirit-filled discernment took place hurts my soul if I think about it too much.
Marie Kondo – the organizer extraordinaire – has been teaching people to thank items in their life before letting them go, to thank it for the gift it was in their life. So that’s what I’m working on doing in these coming weeks.
Through pictures and videos of the past and present, I am thanking the building for what it has been for me and thousands of others. I am thanking God for the Pastors and people that built it, cared for it, and kept it upright all these years. I am thanking all of you – alumni, supporters, and students – who continue to risk the loss of this building on behalf of future students, so that this ministry can move into a new and exciting era of ministry for the coming decades. And I’m thanking our architect, engineers, and a contractor who will bring this new building to its completion, a building that will feel just as much as a home to new students as this one did for me.
The building might be gone, but we still have what was sent out with us – our faith that was formed, the relationships that were strengthened, and the God we worshiped.
Thanks be to God.