I don’t like heights.
My family knows this well.
For years, when our travels have taken us over tall bridges, they smile as both of my hands tighten on the steering wheel, my speed slows to the minimum legal level, and my eyes find a place to look that doesn’t magnetically draw them over the edge of the railing.
“I could do that,” Nancy said a couple years ago. “I could drive us over the Mackinac Bridge.”
I’m not sure why we didn’t have that conversation before. It’s possible that I’m not terribly approachable about driving. But for the past two years (maybe three), Nancy has taken the wheel for the five-mile drive across the bridge (and the rest of the trip to Paradise going north).
She doesn’t see it as courageous the same way I do. She sees it as driving on a trip she’s taken for years.
In truth, that’s how she looks at most things she does. Not as courageous or creative or distinguished in any way, but as what she does. The rest of us are aware, however, that her faithful service to the people she cares for and the tasks in front of her are pretty distinguished. One choir family at a time, one account balance at a time, one pie at a time, one prayer for her kids at a time, one seemingly small interaction at a time done with consistency make up a legacy of practical love.
It’s her birthday today. I seldom know what to get for her. And already know that giving her public attention isn’t high on the list. But our collective attention is drawn to the catastrophic, the spectacular, the breaking news. We often overlook long obedience in the same direction. In the middle of the breaking news, both public and personal, I get to sit in the car or on the sofa or on a walk or in the hospital room with Nancy. And I am grateful.