Finding Your Village: Spring Break Trip to Holden pt. 1

What a better  way to take a break from finals week than to read our blog series on the spring break experience to Holden Village! All jokes aside, many parts of Holden are infused into our communal life together, including regularly singing Holden Evening Prayer and Mountain Vespers in worship, and continually using The Prayer of Good Courage during our senior sending. Hear from students who went on the spring break trip and what their takeaways from this unique community are.

Read part 2 and part 3 here.

By Sarah Baker

Self-reliance is an important part of life. In college, we are taught how to be independent, how to take responsibility for our futures and how to count on ourselves in times of stress and struggle. However, being too self-reliant is something that can end up being more hindering than helpful. I am especially guilty of this—despite everything that I’ve gone through in my life, I still occasionally fail to see the value of interpersonal connection. Every once in a while, I get stuck in the mindset that I’m the only one I can truly count on and that I shouldn’t expect much from the people that I’m closest to.

When I heard that the spring break trip this year was to Holden Village, I didn’t think too much of it. I really only signed up because I wanted to spend a week in the mountains of Washington, a place I’d never been. I was expecting to love the area, but I wasn’t expecting to fall in love with the Village itself. One of the reasons I loved Holden so much was because of the incredible sense of community. In fact, Holden Village is probably the best example of community I’ve seen in my entire life.

After traversing several miles of icy switchbacks and one-lane dirt road, our bus pulled up into Holden. The sense of community in the Village was immediately obvious, as the entire population was lined up on the road, waving at us as we drove up. After getting off the bus, I felt so welcomed—every single person was smiling and looked genuinely happy that we were there. I have never felt like I belonged somewhere so quickly in my life.

This feeling of belonging lasted for the entirety of our stay in Holden. Our group was a little shy at first, but eventually we interacted more with the villagers and learned about each of their roles within the community. In addition, we were each given our own jobs for the next few days. My job, along with Ben, Sheldon, and Jonah, was to assist the head carpenter, Dana, with anything that he needed. While helping Dana, I noticed how much each villager valued the opinions of the others. When Dana wasn’t sure where we should stash our bags of “single trash gloves”, he knew exactly who to consult. Likewise, I saw how often Dana’s thoughts were considered for random issues. It seemed like each individual in the Holden community was aware of his own role, and at the same time mindful of the fact that he could count on another villager in times of questioning.

Another aspect of community that I was especially struck by was the genuine sense of caring every person in Holden exhibited for one another. This was especially evident on one of our last nights in the Village, when a woman named Donna shared a story about her life. Donna told us about her cancer diagnosis many years ago and how she had come to find hope and a home at Holden. After she was finished speaking, several villagers and even a couple from our group embraced her. In that moment, I felt so much love in the room—the authentic and sincere kind. Real love.

There were several other fantastic examples of community that I observed in Holden. From the mealtime announcements, to the comfort of Bible and Brew, to the efficiency of the fire response team, I could go on and on. Every single aspect of the Village was
flawless. After spending four days at Holden, I am 100% confident that not even an avalanche could shake the Village—that’s how solid the community is.

Witnessing such a real community over spring break definitely revitalized my perception of community in general. I began seeing Holden-like community everywhere in my life—in my family, in my roommates, and especially in LCM. The LCM community cares so deeply for each person that walks through the doors of Grace. Like Holden, each person in LCM contributes something unique to the group and well-being of the community depends on the connectedness of unique individuals.

The ability to be both independent and reliant on others is something that makes a perfect member of an indestructible community. While it’s tough to admit the necessity of interpersonal connections (especially as a college student), having a stable community is essential to living life to its full potential. Being independent is something that’s extremely important to growing up, but I would argue that finding “your village” is something even more valuable. I’m so grateful that I have my own version of Holden Village here in Minnesota, and I hope that everyone else within the LCM community feels the same.

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