Today we begin “Thank Back Thursdays.” This week’s contributor: Mary Brennan.
Every time I walk onto this block, I’m lifted up on the shoulders of those who were here before me. The shoulders of the folks who grabbed my 30-year-old hand all those years ago and said, “Hey! Welcome! Climb up on our shoulders, and we’ll help you get to know us, learn from us, teach us, figure out this prayer book thing. Climb up!”
All Saints’ can be a bit daunting, especially for a newcomer not sure how she’ll fit in, but I accepted the hospitality and with shaky, unsteady legs I climbed up. I hung on for dear life for a while, but these strong-shouldered All Saints’ people don’t let you hold on for long. “You can stand on our shoulders forever, but you can’t hold on. Here, teach confirmation class. We need you on the education committee. Run for the vestry!”
More shoulders of support appeared, the foundation for how I grew in faith and service. The night shelter, Kanuga, mission committees, St. Helena’s. And so with shaky, hesitant knees, I went from shoulder to shoulder, support to support. Harry, Bill, Barbara, Martha. Sara, Sue Brown, Emily, Anna. George, Frank, Willetta, Ann, Mimi. Allison.
Those strong All Saints’ shoulders – many still with us, some long gone – welcomed, taught, listened, learned, suffered, babysat, guided, and gave strength to my wobbly, wobbly knees.
I’m still standing on their shoulders, and I still have wobbly, uncertain knees. But I hope my shoulders are sturdy enough to hold anybody and everybody who wants to serve God’s mission in the world. My knees are shaky, but I’m standing on strong, strong shoulders. Climb on up!
Mary Brennan serves on Presiding Bishop Michael Curry’s staff in the Office of Communication. She is mother to Kate, mother-in-law to Greg, and GrandMary to Liam and Charlotte. She has been climbing up on the shoulders of All Saints’ folks since 1981.