The hand on the left has been married to me for slightly more than 25 years. The hand on the right has been married to God for more than 40 years.

We met the hand on the right a dozen years ago. She was my boss for four years. She has been our friend for twelve. We see each other once or twice a year. We went to her fortieth anniversary of being a sister a few years ago. She felt bad about not being able to attend my ordination.

I love to listen to these two women, these two friends of mine, these two friends of God. They understand devotion very well. They laugh as they talk.

On one hand, they have little in common. Different religious communities. Children and childless. Always together, always alone. Support jobs, senior administrator.

And yet, this they have in common. They both have made a solemn vow. They are completely commited to a promise they each made. They are fully aware of what it has meant to give up other things to keep that promise. They are fully aware that there is a dependence, a willing submission. And that submission, which could destroy if forced, is a choice that they have made and keep making.

I watch them both with great respect and deep affection. In four years, one shaped me professionally. In 25 years, the other has shaped me in every possible way. Each has shaped colleagues, children, students, organizations.

These two women, with their commitment to God and to others, show well what keeping a vow means.


8 responses to “committed

  1. Great comments, great photo, great sentiment.

  2. russellcook01


    Thanks for this excellent post.

  3. A great reminder to submit to something greater than ourselves. Amen

  4. I found your blog through Chris Brogan on Twitter and liked this post very much. I usually shrink from the word “evangelical” (I know; it means “good news”) because I was raised rather unhappily in the Church of the Brethren and am now a liberal New Hampshire Episcopalian. But I’m about to subscribe.

  5. Thanks Mark, nice to meet you! And congratulations on being the first
    comment for 2009.

  6. Russell, thanks for coming by.

  7. thanks, Michael. It was that kind of reminder to me, too.

  8. Thanks, Jean. I understand shrinking from labels very well.

    And thanks for the enewsletter! I’m looking forward to reading what you