January 28, 2012

On the landing of leadership

I am perpetually on the look out for wise women and wise men.  They come at all ages--some younger then me by far and others at this same stage of life that I find myself.  But at this point of life, what is priceless is that person who is further down the road than me in both spiritual maturity, leadership and chronology.

This last week I was able to share coffee with Lisa Espinelli Chinn (Intervarsity VP ) who is a sixty-something woman, spiritual leader, ministry leader, mother of 3 and mentor to many. My words tumbled out of me--at this point in life I have been feeling a bit stuck.  I look behind me and a lot of ground has been covered.  My energies are shifting, my passion feels stretched thin, and I am becoming increasingly protective of my time and heart.  When I look ahead, the future seems blurry and dense.

I listed through what is on my plate, what I am tired of, my impending fortieth birthday, what's seems complicated.  Ten years ago my life seemed so much clearer and defined.  I assumed that clarity would continue and now it seems formless and dim.

Lisa said to me: "You aren't stuck, you are at a landing."  She went on to say that I have climbed a lot of steps and now I am at a landing.  There are two or more staircases at this point, and all have other landings.  The landing is space to contemplate, to rest, to regroup.  Life is full of landings.  And as you get older, there are more landings, not less.  At some point, I will choose a staircase to climb, but at this point, it's wait and rest on the landing.

I know I'll be processing a lot about this landing that I am on and about what the new stairs there are to climb.  I usually think in terms of hiking a mountain, instead of climbing stairs.  But whether it's a staircase or an overlook point on the mountain pathway, it's time to delight in the pause and not fear it.

It is interesting how life's blueprint becomes at times less clear then it was before.
As you hit life or work milestones do you find more clarity or more ambiguity?


  1. Thinking of long staircases as resting places because, dang, climbing that set made me tired! Love the post, friend.

  2. Wow, that is definitely something I have never thought about before. Lisa is so wise. Loved her in chapel!
    I feel like I find clarity in what happened leading up to the landing, but feel very ambiguous about what is to come on the next couple of staircases.

  3. clarity is over rated. I never have clarity more than one step in front of me and usually not even that. It is why I must depend so much on faith. Who needs faith when you have clarity? Lucky for those who have it, I suppose. I never seem to. I've also never magically gotten a random check in the mail that's just enough to cover all my bills. No magic and little clarity it seems in my life. Also, I can't put in words how beautiful it is knowing Marilyn. I wish I had a much older and wiser woman here in Portland to share such things with. Great women in our lives are invaluable. :)

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