If I could keep this post hidden from the other computer in our home office, the one four feet from me, I would Nancy will sit down at that computer on Tuesday morning and check email and then find out if I wrote anything. And she’ll read this.
And she’ll prefer that I hadn’t told everyone that it’s her birthday.
But I need to tell you a story.
I don’t like to be possessive. I seldom talk about my kids. They are our kids. I shudder when people talk about ‘my staff’. I seldom talk about my car or my house or my things. They are ours.
As a result of this linguistic choice, I also have a hard time saying “my wife”.Clearly she isn’t “our” wife, there isn’t anyone else that gets to be married to her.
Several years ago we were at the groundbreaking for a new building. I’d been part of the team from the university working on the design. We stood in line for the reception. In front of us was the architect. He turned around, I got ready to introduce Nancy…and got stuck. My possessive reticence about “my wife” made that phrase catch in my throat. “The woman I am married with”, “the woman I promised to be completely committed to”, several other options all ran through my head. But time ran out. She was introduced as “Nancy”.
She forgave me.
And loves me.
And we walk together and talk together and try to understand. She reads twitter and blogs and flickr, though she stay pretty invisible. She is constantly and consistently trying to understand what following Jesus looks like. She cares deeply about underdogs and outsiders and the misunderstood. She is modest and quiet which sometimes makes people think that she isn’t someone that is worth attending to.
Ah, but she is.
In truth, though she seldom get attribution, what is written frequently grows out of our conversations, out of her questions.
Happy birthday, Nancy. You do change the world. You are a rockstar.