Thursday, June 09, 2005

I Wish You Knew This Woman

In another day she would have been called a "broad." Nothing . . . at least nothing I ever saw or heard . . . could faze this woman. Principled and practical, creative and resourceful, a bulldozer in a boardroom and an inspiration behind a pulpit.

I once held my breath for three floors in the elevator in fear of . . . I have no idea what but I did fear her!

My great source of joy and cringing came on a rare occasion when safe in the absence of her presence someone would suggest I carried some of her traits. I'm fairly sure they meant the more positive ones but at times I wondered if I, too, with my abundance of "options" and "ideas" caused frustration among my coworkers comparable to when we received her edicts from above.

She was a rare thing in my former denominational life -- a woman of Southern sensibility and the sense to know when to say "bullshit" without ever having to utter the words. "Selling" her on something was simply an impossibility. She seemed to have superhero powers with regard to the viability of a possibility. If she saw with her X-ray eyes that it would work, you had unlimited access to resources. If she didn't . . . well . . .

Today I received an email from her, having not heard from her in more than 15 years. She wanted me to consider taking on a new professional role. I responded with a grateful and polite no and a brief summary of what I've been doing. For some reason (maybe it's the 43 years I now carry as opposed to the 24 I had when I first met her), I went deep and long with her. She responded in kind.

I celebrate that I knew and now once again "know" her. I celebrate that we came together for a time at a place where, as she puts it, had the
"clarity of voice to mentor . . . called women into God's whatever".

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