First things first: I know my title is grammatically incorrect, but “On what do I stand?” sounds like a line from a hymn, instead of a title for a blog post. Actually, I think there may be a new rule about ending sentences with prepositions, making allowances for times like this, when the correct usage would make the sentence too stuffy or formal sounding. I really should look that up, but none of this is what I intended to write about (oops, there I go again).
(Pictured above: my feet, left, alongside a dear friend’s feet, while serving Communion in Kerrville, Texas, summer 2012)
I’ll be the first to admit, I have as many (if not more) personal hang-ups as the next woman, but one thing that’s never bothered me is my height. I am just barely 5-feet tall (and my oldest son likes to remind me I’m only that tall first thing in the morning – I get shorter as the day goes along). I’ve always stood in the front row for any chorus or class photo. I’ve always needed a step stool to reach anything above the first shelf in my kitchen. And I’ve always relied on the kindness of strangers when grocery shopping, unless I’m impatient or too shy to ask for help and just climb the shelves to reach what I need.
Growing up, friends would tell me,”I had no idea you were that much shorter than me!” the first time they saw us standing side by side in a photo or a reflection. I took that as a compliment, deciding it must be because my personality either distracted from or made up for my lack of height. I can always wear heels, use a ladder, hem my pants or stand on tippy toe – so, for me, it’s really a non-issue.
When I began preaching on a regular basis, I learned I was almost always too short for the pulpit (built for the average height male). I used all sorts of things to give me the height I needed to avoid looking like a child, peeking over the top of the pulpit, while I preached. I’ve stood on hymnals, chairs from the preschool room, and step stools used by children at the water fountain or bathroom sink. But not anymore.
One of my most cherished going away gifts (and I’ve gone away from a number of places in my 44 years) came following my internship in Canyon, Texas, where I spent a year with the most loving and healthy congregation I’ve met to date. A college student named Brandon presented me with my very own “preaching box” (pictured). He drew his family’s “brand” on the underside, intended to be a reminder of him, my thoughtful, generous gift-giver. But his brand also serves as a reminder that I’m standing on more than wood – I’m also sustained by the people I’ve known and places I’ve been while using my gift.
I’ve left the wood bare all these years and kept the box under my desk at work in between preaching gigs – still in a supporting role, just supporting my feet and legs as I sit in a too-tall chair, at a too-tall desk. But now I’m ready to make something (more) of it. Sort of like my decision to use my “fine” china every day, I’m ready to paint and decorate my box, despite the fact that I’ll have my feet on it (oh, the horror!). So, I’m asking myself, literally, on what do I stand (yeah, still too formal sounding) and how can I Mod Podge that on this box?