Life Themes

“In work, do what you enjoy.”  Tao te Ching by Lao Tze, translation by Stephen Mitchell, chapter 8.

One way to look at a biography is to see how the story unfolds through time. That is the chronological approach, and it has great attraction for those of us who are historians.

Another way is to consider the themes or patterns in a person’s life. In what ways does a person bring joy to his or her life? What activities repeat? What is the person best known for?

This page takes the themes approach with Friendship, Fudge-making, Performing, and Traveling.  As you read this, do other patterns come to mind?

Friendship

Ed Christman was born with genuine curiosity for each new person he meets — grocery cashier, bus driver, long distance telephone operator, or college freshman — asking “what’s your name? what are you doing? what’s it like to do your job?’ All through Ed’s life, he created friendships. During the chaplain years, this friendliness created the initial bonds between Ed and each new crop of Wake Forest students.

He and Jean also had the opportunity to nurture long-term relationships with colleagues and friends at Wake Forest, many of whom they have known since the 1950s or 1960s.  Read more…

Fudge Maker

At holiday time, Ed Christman the Chaplain became Ed Christman the Fudge Maker. Like Santa Claus, he and Jean made a list and checked it twice. Unlike Santa, though, they gave gifts with even-handed generosity.  Read more…

Performer

Ed Christman’s infectious joy was always part of his work.  He has a gift for performance, a rich imagination, and the willingness to work hard.  This trio of talents made even routine tasks come to life with humor and surprise. It also allowed him to reach out to new experiences, such as acting in the Wake Forest University Theatre. Read more…

Traveler

Ed and Jean enjoyed traveling, and their trips usually involved a Wake Forest or a Baptist connection…

Or a beach connection.  The North Carolina Beach, and often the Baptist Retreat Center at Caswell Beach, southwest of Wilmington, was a favorite destination.  Caswell, near historic Fort Caswell, was the site of family weeks for many North Carolina Baptist churches and student groups. With its  plain but spacious old homes and newly built ‘motel,’ the retreat was a perfect combination of community and solitude.  Read more…

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