Who am I? The age-old question that we all ask in many stages of our lives. From the time we are small, we are reflected in our mother’s eyes and in our father’s eyes. As we grow older, we add to the question…Who are we in the ‘school world’? Are we popular? I dealt with that question when I was about 12. Obviously I wasn’t IN the group. I wondered why, so I asked. The answer? “Look at your fingernail, they are dirty!” I looked and they looked normal. What did fingernails have to do with being popular?
Are we an A student, or a failing student? A professor of a graduate course, anointed me as a ‘B’ student. Just because I didn’t deal well with statistics? Then in the work world, we face the same question. Will we be 5-digit 6-digit or more, earner?
Does who we are becomes a matter of who we associate with? Live with or work with?
Yesterday, waiting in a dentist’s office, I read about the life of Solomon Leppke Loewen. I wondered if my Great Uncle Solomon ever pondered who he was when he was a small boy. His fervor for life was extraordinary – what caused him to set his rudder in life early and pursue life straight on. Even to learning how to run a computer at the age of 90 years?
Solomon Leppke Loewen was born December 23, 1090 on a farm near Hillsboro, Kansas, to Jacob and Justina Leppke Loewen. The youngest of fourteen children. His education began in a one-room school, graduating from Tabor College in 1923 with graduate work in the University of Kansas and University of Minnesota completing a master’s degree in 1928. He taught biology in the University of Minnesota, Sterling College and Tabor College for over 50 years. He received an honorary doctor of science degree in 1961 from Sterling college. Solomon became a Christian in 1916, and taught Sunday School classes for many years and sang in the church choir. He married Katherine Schellenberg June 8, 1922. They had four children. He enjoyed working on genealogy and history records. Solomon and Katherine were separated in her death in 1991. Solomon wanted to live to be 100, but died in 1993, suffering a severe accident, at the age of 97.
Solomon Loewen traveled to Central America, South America, Paraguay, visiting the Leper Station, and a trip with a Malaria team. Solomon traveled to Russia and Czechoslovakia, and in Canada. No matter where he went, he studied bugs. He has several chapters concerning Teratology, observations in Nature, behavior of Farmyard Animal.
The Introduction is…”Who Are We?” As I read what he wrote in this chapter, I began to know who my Great Uncle is. He wrote: I will start with my beginning…It was the year the Spanish-American war came to an end. William McKinley was president. It was the year that a card with a picture could be sent for one penny. It was also the year when a kite reached a record height of 12,471 feet. *I wonder whether my stork carried me that high?) The stork dropped me off here at Hillsboro, then flew to Mt. Lake, Minnesota and left my future friend at a farmer’s home. That year the US Population stood at 73,949,000. (Solomon hopes they counted him). Campbell’s soup became available, eggs were sold for $ .20 a dozen and milk for $ .27 per gallon. There were inventions of farm machinery and the telephone, telegraph, phonograph and automobile were in the making. A new world was dawning. Solomon’s parents lived in a two-bedroom house with 13 children, later they added to it, to make more room.
Solomon loved his name, a Bible name. In I Kings 4:33, Solomon spoke of trees, beats, fowl, creeping things and fishes — a real biologist that Solomon admired and identified with.
Solomon had a curiosity and desire to know not only God’ creation, but also His God. Solomon’s history contains Solomon’s drawing of the wing of a horse fly – Tabanus, the second antenna of a crayfish, an extended Hydra with bud, a Stinger of a Honey Bee (Apis melliferal), a radius break (ulna) of the break in his wrist, fracture in a hip of his wife. He used his artistic ability to draw gifted chalk-talk artist – drawing pictures as he talked.
He was affectionately said to be the man who taught bug-ology.. One account was of Solomon and Katherine ‘chugging’ up the lane of a nephew’s farm in Oklahoma. When Uncle Sol spotted the hill of enormous red ants west of the house, he pounced upon them, scooping some into a jar of ‘spirits’ for study. His Dad, Jacob Loewen, was also happy about the find – for this would mean excellent liniment.
At the end of life, we wonder who we are, and what has our life meant. In the last words of his account, Solomon quoted Psalm 139:14-17 – I praise you because I am fearfully and wonderfully made; your works are wonderful, I know that full well. My frame was not hidden from you when I was made in the secret place. When I was woven together in the depths of the earth, your eyes saw my unformed body. All the days ordained for me were written in your book before one of them came to be. How precious to me are your thoughts, O God! How vast is the sum of them!
Then he continues – The greatest truth Scripture gives us is that God became man in his son, Jesus Christ who gave His love to us in His sacrifice on the cross, rose again triumphantly, thereby paying for our sins….It has been our prayer that all of our children, grandchildren and great grandchildren would personally receive Jesus Christ as their Savior. We have thanked for each one when they confessed Jesus as their Savior and were baptized and became a part of the church family and serve God and fellowmen. My prayer is that you may make this decision as early in your life as the Holy Spirit invites you to open your heart to accept Jesus as Savior! Amen! (He wrote this on his computer — June 21, 1994 – the longest day of the year)
Who am I? It matters only that I am defined by Jesus Christ, and Him only. Who am I? When I hold on to God, and serve others — then the I am of me – is one with the I AM of God. The question is really – Who is Jesus to me!
And I will continue to sing the utterly beautiful words of the praise hymn:
Who am I that You are mindful of me
That You hear me when I call
Is it true that You are thinking of me
How You love me
I am a friend of God — I am a friend of God — I am a friend of God — He calls me friend
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