Todd and Susan Lewis

Todd and Susan Lewis

TODD LEWIS

From elementary school days on the Blackland Prairie of Texas, I have been drawn by science and philosophy as pursuits.  I selected physics as a college major with the reasoning that physics is a form of philosophy that can be experimentally verified.  In graduate school I discovered the limits of empiricism and the value of revelation leading to a profession of faith in Jesus.  I graduated with a doctorate in biophysics and participated in research on the role of the cell membrane in immune attack.  I met Susan in a faith community of the Church of the Savior in Washington, DC, and chose to stay to pursue a relationship with her rather than to accept a research position in Chicago.  While enjoying the privilege and wonder of being a father to our son, Jonathan, and working in an information technology company supporting NASA, I became involved with the outward mission of this community related to both the indigenous Mayans of Central America and our country’s relationship with this region.  In working with Henri Nouwen and Scott Peck, I began to understand that less visible currents of spiritual formation underlie what is more overtly expressed in political positions and policy.  In the year 2000, Susan, Jonathan and I moved to the Big Island of Hawaii.  Jonathan later moved to Germany with his new German wife Stefanie, and Susan and I moved to the Hawaiian Island of Oahu.

I currently support network and voice operations at the Disney Aulani Resort and Spa on Oahu in Hawaii.  I have noticed that my compulsion to find the whole (completeness) and the hole (the missing part) of things both technical and philosophical continues to emerge, and find myself interested in the work of the social psychologist Jonathan Haidt who is exploring why liberals and conservatives almost always talk past each other.  I continue to be drawn to explore systems, problems and challenges that have a multi-dimensional character and often hidden elements.  I feel a tug back to the roots of my most persistent callings.

After visiting other options (such as Boquete, Panama) offering aspects of beauty, adventure and community for this next phase in life’s journey, I became increasingly aware of a soulful longing to till the soil around the roots of deeper calling and connection now more clearly illuminated with the passage of time.  I came to recognize that the deepest and most durable of these formed during the time Susan and I lived in the Washington, DC, area and especially in Mt. Rainier, Maryland, where we met several of the families creating Shepherd Village.  At a time when the gift of these elder years is the possibility of reexamining and extending what has been most meaningful over the longer arc of life experience, Shepherd Village offers the opportunity to share this exploration with the creative, accomplished and reflective people who are in the process of forming this expression of community.

 

SUSAN LEWIS

My husband Todd and I met at Church of the Saviour in a mission group focusing on indigenous peoples of Guatemala and Honduras. We are still on the board of the Dunamis Peace Institute and have considered this a lifelong calling. I went to law school right out of college, practiced immigration law, worked at UNHCR and represented abused children in the DC courts. I have a heart for the displaced both here and abroad. I also home schooled our son for 8 years during our time living in Mt Rainier.

Prior to coming to DC, I lived on a sailboat and sailed from Annapolis through the Caribbean, through the Panama Canal and up the West coast. During this time I read the entire Bible and, after a great deal of wrestling with God, committed my life to following Jesus. This has proved to be my greatest challenge and my greatest joy.

We moved to Hawaii in 2000, living in Kailua-Kona on the Big Island. I loved my big ocean view, the sunset every evening, and swimming in the ocean 4 times a week. Making a career change, I worked for Hospice of Kona as a Spiritual Care Provider for 6 years. Unfortunately, Kona has one negative — called vog. Vog is volcanic smog, which has a high particulate matter. I had a tracheotomy as a child, and the vog makes it difficult to breathe. I had made wonderful friends in Kona, so it was very hard to leave.

For the past 3 years I have lived on Oahu. After brief stints teaching English as a Second Language (ESL) and serving as a Chaplain in a large hospital, I now work as a Spiritual Care Provider for Islands Hospice. Having downsized completely from our home in Kona, we live in a townhouse with a lovely view of the ocean and ranch land with mooing cows.

I am particularly drawn to contemplative practice and I am looking forward to learning Tai Chi. I love beauty and silence, enjoy swimming in oceans and lakes, riding my bike, church, having coffee with friends, movies, well-written books and playing this silly game on my phone called 100! I will miss the weather in Hawaii, but I am looking forward to renewing old friendships and finding new friends in community.

I am drawn to Shepherd Village for several reasons. I am acquainted with a number of the members and I know them to be people of integrity and commitment. I have always been attracted to the co-housing concept —individual homes with an opportunity of shared meals and shared work. I like working as a team. Living in a small town with a small University appeals to me, and Shepherdstown is lovely. It is not far from several dear friends in the DC area. It is also one plane ride to Germany (our son Jonathan lives there with his German wife Stefanie) instead of going halfway around the world from Hawaii. It is my desire to live simply that others may simply live, and I think this community of people will be a great encouragement in simple living.