As per usual, I just want to give a little more background for episode 3. I had the chance to couch surf at Alan’s home in San Diego. Immediately it was clear that he is a very kind and welcoming person. He was gracious enough to let me ask him a few questions about his life.
While the clip in this episode focuses on his decision as a child to become a Lutheran pastor and the journey that took him to the realization of that decision, Alan shared a lot more about himself. It would be really easy to make Alan out as this one dimensional person: Alan the Pastor. Though we only had a grand total of a few hours around each other, it was clear that he is a complex and well rounded person. His identity is multiple.
As we talked about his time as a pastor, Alan illuminated a passion for people. His work as a pastor enabled him to articulate moving thoughts to his congregation and support them in their lives. Clearly it suited him in a variety of ways to have spent several decades of his life working for the people of a small Wisconsin town. Yet Alan is the type of person that is aware and open to new things. He spoke of retiring and realizing soon after that his presence may make the transition to the new pastor more difficult than it needed to be. A series of experiences and considerations brought him to San Diego.
What is so striking about Alan is that he is full of youthful vigor for life and people. Retirement isn’t about making it a time for him to be self-serving and collecting what he earned. He emanates character. The genuine nature that I’m sure was a hallmark of his ministry as a pastor continues to be an ever-present part of his life. This came into full view as he described his experience getting into hosting couch surfers. He relishes the opportunity to have a variety of people from all over the world stay in his home. He shared many stories while I stayed with him about various people that he’s hosted. And those connections have led him all over the world to places he noted he never imagined going to. Yet connection to others has led him all over the world.
I felt privileged to have crossed paths with such a balanced and welcoming human being that is just curious about life. I’ve actually borrowed from him as a tagline something he said as we spoke: “Everyone has a story. Everyone’s story is interesting. Everyone’s story is important.” I couldn’t agree more.