On the Shoulders

Clarissa Pinkola Estes, author of Women Who Run with the Wolves, tells a story about a dream she had in which she was telling stories and felt someone patting her foot in encouragement.

I looked down and saw that I was standing on the shoulders of an old woman who was steadying my ankles and looking up at me. I said to her, ‘No, no, come stand on my shoulders, for you are old and I am young.’ ‘No, no,’ she insisted, ‘this is the way it is supposed to be.’ I saw that she stood on the shoulders of a woman far older than she, who stood on the shoulders of a woman in robes, who stood on the shoulders of another soul, who stood on the shoulders…

Here is my most cherished picture from yesterday: Liz Heller (center), who attended McCormick Seminary in 1950 and worked in campus ministry for many years before she decided to get ordained in a denomination that would finally allow it. I'd never met her, but she's been a mentor and spiritual mother to Anna Carter Florence (left), which makes her special to me. Anna is preaching professor at Columbia Seminary and has been a mentor and spiritual mother for me.

Here's what 51, 87, and 42 look like in a darkened pub after burgers and toasts to all the great words shared today at the Festival.

photo copy


Estes goes on to say about her dream that each of us is called to “draw from the towering column of humanity, joined one to the other across time and space, elaborately dressed in the rags and robes or nakedness of their time and filled to the bursting with life still to being lived.”

Bursting with life indeed!

On whose shoulders do you stand?