This post is dedicated to someone I have the privilege of spending a great deal of time with. Her daily activities bring her into constant contact with a variety of unpleasant bodily fluids. Feces, mucus, pee, spit, vomit. Disgusting, I know. And when other viscous fluids get added into the whole gross mix (syrup, jelly, ketchup, sunscreen), then things get even nastier. She is not an aid worker or a nurse. She is a mother of four small children. She is my wife. And today is her birthday.
She is the most impressive person I know. In fact, I suffer at times from a nagging curiosity that perhaps she is not even mortal. I question her humanity. I wonder where she really comes from. She is infused with some immortal splendor, brief glimpses of which raise eyebrows for those who have eyes to see. I’ve never myself seen a halo over her head. Never seen a pair of wings. But make no mistake, she is haloed and winged, visibly demonstrated not by feathers or a floating, gilded ring over her brown hair but by the gracious beauty of her deeds, by how she interacts with those children dripping with syrup and sitting in their poop, by the way she thinks about people whose homes were smashed by recent tornadoes, by the way she talks about Jesus… as if the two of them have regular, secret conversations with one another when no one is looking.
I tell you, it’s like living with a sunrise.
A sunrise with legs that darts up and down your steps carrying laundry, that shuttles kids about in a 2005 Honda Pilot littered with the uncontrollable onslaught of debris from four kids who like to collect acorns, junky “treasures” found on the floors of Lowes or Kohls, and crafts from church and school and the playroom.
I should stop questioning her humanity, assuming she may be an angelic being of some kind. Instead, I should learn from her what it means to be truly human. I should learn from her how to be a sunrise clothed with skin. To be a flesh, bone and blood creation with the breath of God in my lungs. To be, very simply, someone who honors the vocational assignment of bearing the image of God.
To my human wife. Thanks for showing me new-creation humanity. Thanks for having and holding a lesser being. Thanks.
Happy Birthday, M.