I met Phyllis Tickle at a conference about 10 years ago and we struck up a conversation about the work I was doing creating online church in Second Life. She was immediately fascinated and wanted me to create an avatar for her to explore the digital world. Later, she did indeed log in and wander around the weird little world of online church with complete and utter openness to the reality of virtual community. After that, every time I would see her at one Emergent event after another, she would engage me in conversation about my work, my life and my thoughts, deftly de-centering herself from a conversation and making me and others around her feel so loved and held.
More than loved and held, significant. From my vantage point as a Piglet of very small size, I saw her lift up so many others when she, a brilliant, wise, savvy and faithful woman of Pooh character, could have served only her own ego and goals.
Once, I had the incredible honor to be the recipient of her extravagant hospitality with a host of other hooligans at her Farm in Lucy. I will never, until my last breath joins hers in whatever comes next, forget the way she held each one of her guests in the highest regard while engaging in rigorous and joyous conversation, debate, feasting and drinking! Her generosity around the table and in the world was something to behold! To be in her presence was to be in the presence of love.
Her work has shaped me, the fleeting interactions of friendship have changed me and my experience of her spirit will forever remind me of who I want to be in the world.
Thank you, Phyllis.