Diana Trautwein can stand flat-footed and look me in the eye.
(Not many can claim such a thing.)
In turn (defying some unwritten law of physics, or perhaps botany — science is not my subject), I tilt back my head and look up to her.
I still remember the day I first spoke to Diana — in a comment box, of course. It’s how we make do out here in the Internet community. I’d seen her around; we traveled in the same circles. One can’t help but eavesdrop a bit out here, and I noticed Diana’s conversation to be consistently wise, funny and marked with love for the person she was speaking to.
When she responded to a writer who was working out some hurt and frustration in a blog post, her words struck me as true and necessary, firm and unapologetic, but wrapped up in what I’ve now come to see as a deep and penetrating Diana-love.
I couldn’t just stand back and watch Diana any more. I had to meet her.
You who know me, know this is not my way.
Diana influences me without even trying.
I got myself over to her place and introduced myself.
She describes herself this way: “a late . . . middle-aged, female, retired-part-time-pastor-learning-to-be-a-spiritual-director with a family she adores.” My only regret from the writer’s retreat at Laity Lodge last year was not spending enough time face-to-face with such a remarkable friend.
It seems every where I go, Diana is already there, sharing her love and her wisdom and a lot of laughing. Watching the way Diana naturally relates to and gently guides so many of us has me thinking of her as almost an “internet chaplain.” (It’s not a term I made up. Some of you know Jon Swanson, who bears the title “social media chaplain.”)
You can find Diana at Just Wondering most days. This week, you can find her at Sarah Bessey’s Emerging Mummy, where she’s being all internet chaplain-like and pointing folks to an amazing list of women, many of whom I’ve come to know and love, who are blogging life and faith over 50. (If you see me over there, I think that’s only because some days I get around like I’m in my 80s and they thought I should get an honorary inclusion.) She says this, just like Diana would:
In this collection, you will find poets, photographers, married women, widows, divorcees. You will find a priest, several published authors, schoolteachers, pastors’ wives, businesswomen, a hospice worker, some stay-at-home moms, a cancer survivor, a claims adjuster, a spiritual director, a former nurse, a couple of short-term missionaries, and a whole lot of heart.
All are women who have walked through suffering and loss, joy and laughter, gratefully experiencing and celebrating life, in all its wacky, messy, gorgeous reality.
Each one of them loves Jesus and longs to live more fully into her faith.
Stop over and take a look at Diana’s recommendations. But even more, stop by Diana’s house on the web (by the ocean), where the coffee is on, the fire is crackling, and Diana’s company is unmatched. At least, I hope she’s got coffee.
While I’ve long thought of Diana as the chaplain of our interwebs, Nancy Franson and I have not had this conversation before. Even so, she posted this on Facebook last evening:
This comment incited a rash of Amens and various other affirmations with respect to Pastor Diana’s heart.
I added this to that stream: