Wednesday, January 30, 2013
The Man Not In The History Books
There are books filled with the exploits of great men, warriors, statesmen, poets, inventors…men who capture our imaginations and solicit our praise.
Abraham Lincoln saved the nation. Albert Einstein made sense of the laws of the Universe. William Shakespeare expressed human nature’s frailty and fickleness with passion and beauty. Great men, lauded men.
This man, he’ll never be in a book. He never saved a nation, but he saved me from many days of despair. He didn't come up with a law like relativity, but he made his mother smile with his insight on the Archie comics. And he may not be Shakespeare, but he has written words of love to his wife and children for years, sometimes on paper and sometimes straight on their hearts.
This man, his career didn't go the way he planned. But he has worked hard and with integrity every day of his life. He would have loved to buy me a house at the beach, but he takes me to a cottage there every summer. Only a few wise people have noticed how smart and insightful he is, because he never, ever brags. Wherever he works people love and trust him, because he has a bad report about no man.
Here’s a fact many don’t know about this man: He has a twin brother who is the funniest person he knows. They shared their own language as little kids, and you can still barely understand them when they are together.
This man loves chocolate ice cream, and alternate history books by Harry Turtledove and the sculptor Bernini. He wouldn't know the name of any clothing designer, nor care. His favorite movie is “Much Ado About Nothing”, directed by Kenneth Branagh, and watching it with his daughter gives him joy.
This man is not perfect. He has a temper. But he never holds a grudge.
This man has quietly helped his sons find their way in the mundane of math and the dead serious of life. He has played faithfully and long in the cold water of Coast Guard Beach with his daughter. (I have stood on that beach turned blue with just the watching!) He has stayed in the ice cold water of his daughter's broken world after tragedy struck, and has always been waiting there to grab her in every wave that comes.
He played more games of Dumbo with his young children than any person could, and remain sane. He has poured out his life to his children day after day, and would consider being a father his dearest and sweetest calling.
Three years ago, this man’s body was smashed and broken by someone else’s sin. His blood ran in streams over pavement, in a helicopter, all over the floor of the emergency room until it nearly ran cold. He climbed hard to life, and counted blessings instead of cursing. He believed God and loved Him even with a body broken and heart shattered for the daughter also wounded near unto death.
He worked when he could have taken a route of dependency. He may not be Winston Churchill, but I wonder how Churchill would have done with titanium joints? With everyday pain? With suffering that is left always unspoken?
This man has laid down his life a thousand times in a thousand small ways. He has been the most tangible earthly expression of my Savior’s love for me on this vaporous plain. How many thousands of cups of coffee he has made me, how many unseen acts of service he has provided to me, how many nights he has made sure the electric blanket was on so I’d be comfortable… How many jokes have I listened to, hilarious and not...
This man, he has had to endure much. Not only the big things, but the everyday of living with a woman prone to melancholy. No, he won’t make the history books. And he won’t be great in the world’s sorely bent perspective.
But he is indeed a great man. And I look to the day when the One he loves says to him “Well done, thou good and faithful servant.”
That man is my husband and very best friend, Stephen Joseph Smith. Tomorrow, January 31, God willing he will have the gift of another anniversary of life. We take none of these for granted.
Happy Birthday Smitty. Only heaven will reveal how great you truly are.
Your friend on the pilgrim road,