Thanks to Diana Chapman* for this loving tribute to Parker Palmer, who turns 75 today. He has inspired a generation of leaders and teachers by work and example. I first met him during my training for Women Writing for (a) Change and have continued to be inspired by his work, his words, and his wisdom. Check him out. You’ll be glad you did!
“As we humans come to terms with the reality of what we have wrought, we will need nothing less than all of what you have taught. We will need the personal courage to face the shadows within and beyond. We will need ‘communities of congruence’ to help us nurture “a knowledge that springs from love,” a knowledge, as you have written, that can ‘wrap the knower and the known in compassion, in a bond of awesome responsibility as well as transforming joy,’ a knowledge that can ‘call us to involvement, mutuality, accountability.’
And this, in the end, is what it means to be human. You, my dear friend Parker, have shown us how to hold on to that fragile thread whatever storms may rage around us, to reach out, and keep reaching out, and keep weaving real connections.
So happy 75th birthday, Parker J. Palmer, from all of your fans, all of your friends, from all of us who carry your loving — laughing — presence, always, in our minds and hearts.”
Diana Chapman Walsh was President of Wellesley College from 1993 to 2007, and is now active on a number of boards including the Mind and Life Institute and MIT.