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Meet Heart's Path Explorer Dick Kruse

Reading about another person who follows his or her heart's true path can be inspiring, encouraging and informational.

Joan & Dick Kruse Ephesus, Turkey
Meet Dick Kruse, a grandparent, volunteer, self-described geek and enthusiastic traveler. I met Dick through activities at our church and connected with him on Google+ and Facebook, where I found out about Dick's travels and photography. Dick seems to find meaning in everything he does. My hope is that in reading his story, you will be inspired to do the same.



What activities make your heart happy and your life full of meaning and purpose?

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Dick with two of his five grandchildren
Like every grandparent, nothing to me is more fun than watching our grandchildren as they mature and grow up! Listening to them as they learn and form opinions and values based on their experiences and the influences of the people they encounter throughout their lives is amazing! Of course, playing dolls and having tea parties with them is also part of the fun! 


Also I would have to say that I enjoy doing an activity that helps others either directly or indirectly. Since I retired I have become much more active in various ways at church. In addition, since I have had friends and family affected by the horrors of the disease ALS (Lou Gehrig’s Disease), I volunteer each Tuesday at the ALS Association of MN/ND/SD doing various data entry tasks for the staff. It’s not a big thing overall, but everyone needs a "cause" to support and ALS has become mine!

I am a true geek in the purest sense of the word. I really enjoy working with computers, networks, and whatever the latest gadget is at the time. This aspect of my personality has lead me into photography as a hobby. With the advent of digital photography, learning the capabilities of the new DSLR cameras and techniques for enhancing pictures in Photoshop, I can be a geek and, sometimes, an artist at the same time!

Finally, since retiring we have taken a trip each June, starting with a cruise to Alaska, followed by tours of Greece, China and Eastern Europe. This June we will be touring Scandinavia. With each trip I find that I learn so much about other cultures and people that I can’t wait for the next one!


Sera Monastery - Lhasa Tibet
Sera Monastery, Lhasa Tibet


How did you discover your heart's true path? How do you continue to discern what is true to your heart?
I believe that everyone is a product of their experiences and the individuals that they encounter throughout life. I was a late child for my parents, much younger than my siblings and, therefore, was greatly influenced by my mother and father. Since they were older, they had well-established values that they stressed. I was raised Methodist and was very proud of my awards for perfect attendance at Sunday School! These factors, plus friends, bosses and day-to-day experiences have all shaped me, my values and my heart’s true path.

I had a boss once that, when we were under pressure to make what we felt was a bad decision, said that “we will not do the wrong thing for the wrong reason”. He went on to say that we may occasionally do the wrong thing, but it should always be for the right reason. Even though this was many years ago, it has always stuck with me! Whenever I do something, say something or allow something to happen, I try to test it against my core values and what I feel is right. Now that I am retired, I find it less important to accept the popular position on issues so as to be accepted and more important to let my values determine my position and let others know where I stand.


Sandouping China
Sandouping China


So what are my core values? Basically to do what is right!  So what is right?  Here are some questions that I ask myself:


  • What have I learned from prior experiences about the possible outcomes?
  • What is fair (not that the correct action is always fair for everyone concerned)?  How would I like to be treated in the same situation?  
  • Have I considered both sides of the issue and the motives of the parties on both sides?
  • How would those closest to me view my position or action and would I be letting them down in any way?  Would they be proud or ashamed of my position or action?
  • Am I being true to myself, not just taking the popular position, but doing what I truly feel is right?


So when assessing opportunities, I try to determine if it something that I can support, is it something that I could contribute to through the use of my skills and labor, and is my personality - introvert - a good fit to succeed at the opportunity? For example, at one point in my career I was promoted to lead a very large organization and was told to implement significant changes that would affect many people. Some of these changes I could not support and as an introvert I struggled within myself with what I was asked to do. As a result I made it known that I did not feel that I was a good fit for the position [and] was reassigned. This was a good lesson that taught me some of my limitations!

What rituals do you practice that help you listen to and honor your heart?
I don’t know if I’d call them rituals, but I have a regular schedule of volunteer activities and, of course, always attend church on Sunday (OK, almost always). Along with this, I try to always look for opportunities where I can be of assistance, whether it’s opening a door for someone, helping someone carry something, etc. I’m sure that I miss many such opportunities, so there is always room for improvement!


Magnolia Plantation & Gardens - Charleston SC
Magnolia Plantation & Gardens, Charleston, South Carolina


Think about a time when you got off track. What did you do that helped you return to your heart's true path?
I would have to say that when this happens, it’s not so much what I do, but what happens to me:  I believe that one of the influencers that helped me form my values appears in one form or another. For example, my parents are both deceased, but something can remind me of something they said or did that triggers a reaction. This adds truth to the saying that God works in mysterious ways!

Tell us about your heart's community: Who are your supporters? How have you found people who believe in you, accept you and cheer you on through your journey?
I’d say the largest community that keeps me on track are the members of St. Philip’s Lutheran Church! I have moved to a home quite far from the church and drive by many other churches to get to St. Philip’s, but I really can’t see us switching to closer church! There are so many members that are so driven to help others that it’s amazing just to be among them and hear their thoughts!

What is a book, song, artist or quote that inspires you?
The book Man’s Search for Meaning by Viktor Frankl. I read this book during a leadership course and it has a message that I’ll always remember. In the first half of the book, the author described his ordeals in a WWII concentration camp and how his core values helped him survive. The rest of the book described what core values are, how to determine your values and how important it is to have core values.


Connect with Dick here: blog | Google+ | Picasa Web Albums