Joyce Englund is pictured at her Lindsborg home with her cat on Tuesday, March 23, 2010. (photo by Jeff Cooper/ Salina Journal) | Buy Journal Photos

Don’t tell Joyce Englund there’s nothing to do

By GORDON D. FIEDLER JR. Salina Journal

LINDSBORG — If anyone has carte blanche to sit in idlness, it would be Joyce Englund.

The long-time, septuagenarian Lindsborg resident became disabled five years ago and can no longer stand. In fact, the simple act of getting around is a hardship for the once-active woman.

Her physical limitations may have slowed her mobility but not her drive.

“I’ve got to do something with my time. I feel like I have to justify my existence,” Englund said. “I used to be a helper. Now I’m a helpee.”

Well, not entirely.

Just ask Lan Nelson, activities director of Bethany Home, where, among other places, Englund volunteers.

“For years, she’s been involved in our story program, reading every week or a couple of times a month,” Nelson said.

Englund said she reads stories from the magazine, “Angels on Earth.”

“Right now,” Nelson said. “she’s responsible for collecting people to perform at our chapel services.”

Englund hoped for a career in music and was studying music education at Wheaton College in Illinois, but her parents ran out of money and she had to quit.

Although she didn’t get a bachelor’s degree, she said, “I got an ‘Mrs.’ degree,” marrying fellow student Charles Englund. “I’ve had that for 53 years.”

Charles Englund taught chemistry at Bethany College for 41 years. He was forced to retire after he broke his neck in a fall in October 2008. Now, he moves slowly with the aid of two canes.

“We’re a pair,” he said.

He lets his disability stand in his way about as much as his wife does: in summer, he’s been known to weed their yard by crawling back and forth along the ground.

“What we can do, we do,” Joyce Englund said. “What we can’t do, we pay for.”

And what they can’t pay for just doesn’t get done, she said.

“Those are two of the nicest people you’d every want to meet,” said Nelson, who first met Joyce Englund when he started working at Bethany Home more than 30 years ago.

“For as long as I can remember, she’s always been here,” he said.

Did he think she’d quit after her disability?

“Not really, knowing who she is,” Nelson said. “She has such a positive attitude. She’s always so up.”

When she’s not making regular appearances at Bethany Home, Joyce Englund is volunteering at home. A member of Messiah Lutheran Church, she proofs the church newsletter and bulletins.

She is involved in the The Associated Churches of Lindsborg, an ecumenical charity that goes by the acronym (TACL). Among other services for the local poor, it oversees a thrift store for which Joyce Englund clips coupons from the inserts of the Sunday newspaper. But not just her paper. Friends donate their coupon supplements.

She does this for the thrift store clientele, who she reasoned can’t afford a Sunday newspaper if they are patronizing a thrift store.

“She lives her faith to the fullest,” Nelson said.

She’s into handcrafts and recently closed an at-home crocheting and knitting business. Still, she manages to fashion scarves that she donates to the needy. She figures she’s made more than 1,400 scarves over the years.

“I don’t go anywhere without my knitting,” she said. “I get nervous if my hands aren’t doing anything.”

Englund said she got her drive from her mother. She said her parents always helped others, yet her mother never grew comfortable needing the same help when she aged.

“I wasn’t put on this Earth to take up space,” she said is the lesson learned from her parents, particularly her mother.

“I want to use the time I have left to live the way my mom would be proud of me,” she said. “I don’t want her to be ashamed of me.”

Given that upbringing, Englund has no patience for the unoccupied.

“I don’t understand people who say, ‘I’m so bored, there’s nothing to do.’ Good grief! Open your eyes. Look around. There’s plenty to do.”

nGordon D. Fiedler Jr. can be reached at 822-1407 or by e-mail at gfiedler@salina.

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Enlightened says….
A beautiful testimony to what people can do when they live their lives the “Jesus way”. May God continue to bless this couple and I pray that someone in the Lindsborg area reads this article and finds a way to help them do the things they cannot do anymore.

Bethany Alumnus says….
Two great people who are wonderful assets to Lindsborg and Bethany College. Thank you for covering them.

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