Here I Sit

I have spent my final year on the Board editing the column, “Here I Stand.” It has been a joy and a privilege to share the stories of my sister clergy women, their convictions and the remarkable experiences of their particular and diverse contexts. As I come to the end of my time as a part of the leadership of this amazing organization, I find myself finding some new inspiration from our puppy.

In January we brought home a new black lab puppy. His name is Espen (a combination of the Norwegian names for God and bear). Just like our last black lab, he is already teaching me profound lessons about who God is and who I am called to be. Our next door neighbors have a dog too. It is the highlight of Espen’s day to be able to play with Benny. If we let him, Espen would spend the entire day just as he is pictured above. Sitting at our back door patiently waiting, ever hopeful that Benny will come out the door to play.

I have been struck by his patience and his ability to incarnate hope. It does not matter what time of day it is or how long it has been since Benny has come out. Espen lives out a conviction that new possibilities can happen at anytime. Past experience does not always have to be an indicator of the future. New realities are possible. To borrow from CS Lewis, at anytime, we can be “surprised by joy.”

Patience is a virtue on which I am perennially working. I often feel in a hurry. Read more

Picking the Sick Puppy

And, in the year 2007, it turns out that searching for the dog of your heart’s desire is not so different from online dating. Rather than trolling the aisles of for a man who seemed intellectual, but capable of intimacy, we were trolling for a dog with an open, sweet face who would not bite children or defecate on the floor. Rather than speed dating, we traveled to local shelters, walked up and down the aisles between kennels and rapidly dismissed dogs that did not appeal to us (not housebroken, barks too much, jumps too high, seems scared, seems aggressive).

When we finally narrowed down candidates, we went on dates. Read more