You know the ones.
That woman in church you have seen, but never spoken to. That woman who raised you. That woman who taught you. That woman who blessed you. That woman who organized. That woman who prayed. That woman who showed up. That woman who sings. That woman who leads.
They are everywhere.
Some have gray hair, some don’t.
Some wear funky jewelry, others show up in comfortable shoes.
Some are waving good-bye to sons and daughters flying from the nest. Some are glowing as they hold their grandchildren.
Some sit next to me in church, others are a plane ride away.
They are all lovely.
Their strength is tried and true. So are their recipes.
They have been praying and serving and rolling up their sleeves for longer than I have been alive.
They are clan leaders. They are mothers. They are pillars. They are oak trees.
They have gone before me and lead me and teach me.
Firm. Planted. Unwavering. Dedicated. Wise.
Yet, their years have given to them a softness, an understanding, a confidence and a quietness that allows them to move with ease.
And they allow me to lead.
They give me a place.
They let me try my own recipes in the kitchen, happy to assist.
They throw me a knowing smile when my children misbehave in church.
They listen patiently.
They answer my phone calls.
They invite me over.
They share their lives, open books still being written, and I hang on with rapt attention to every word.
When I am among them, I am among giants.
As I parent, as I lead, as I pray, as I live, as I timidly put one foot in front of the other, unsure if the next step is the right one, they surround me.