This past weekend, we had the great pleasure of joining family and friends – new and old – at the wedding of my niece Leah and her fiancé (now husband) Perek.
It was a joyous, festive ceremony in Decorah, Iowa, at a lovely little Lutheran country church just outside of town. But, of the many great memories that I know I’ll cherish, one that was entirely unexpected was from the informal, noon-time lunch preceding the wedding.
As it turns out, we were joined by the church’s Pastor and, in conversation, he began telling us the story of the church’s unique relationship with a 19th century artist, Herbjorn Gausta.
Before we knew it, we were on brief field trip to the parsonage where the Pastor said he had something special to show us, concerning an extended stay-over by Gausta in the early days of the church. Up to the second floor our wide-eyed guest party climbed, making our way to the guest room of the parsonage where the artist had stayed over 100 years ago.
As it turns out, Gausta had used the original plaster walls of the room as his personal study canvas in preparation for a major work. These original drawings were on all four walls of the tiny room and had been covered up by at least four layers of wallpaper, through the years. It wasn’t until the parsonage received a major remodeling job in recent years that the Gausta sketches, long since forgotten, were discovered in the guest room.
As we all slowly circled the room, there was something of an aura of calm and timelessness. Standing within inches of these drawings, it was easy to imagine the artist alone in the room at the turn of the last century. You could feel his spirit…creating, dreaming, meditating on the serene pastureland he would have seen then, just as we did now, rolling for miles outside the second-story window.
It was a real treat and ever a reminder to keep one’s self open to life’s little surprises each and every day!
One thought on “Bumping into a Sliver of Church History”
I’m disappointed I didn’t get to see that artwork! I love the history preserved in the many niches and cracks of Decorah. Having just visited Chichen Itza on our honeymoon, I can’t help but add that it’s not just artwork that captures our imaginations, awe, and surprise but also science. I was breathless at the astronomy and math that went into building those wonder of ruins thousands of years ago!