sept 21: a not so common day
*small disclaimer, though this post says sept 22, i really did begin writing it sept 21.
today we woke up at 7. today atticus missed his nap (bummer). today i had fish for dinner. though it appeared to be a very common day, it really wasn’t. really, it was very, very special. what infused special into this common day, you ask?
ben e willey.
28 years ago today ben entered the world. as i sit trying to think of words that would communicate how this day has deeply moved and blessed many people, me especially, i find that i just don’t have them. so, i am going to do something that just might embarass more than bless: i am going to make an acronym out of his name. HA! as corny as this may be, it is all true. so beautifully, wonderfully true….
drum roll please….
Bold. ben is committed to living BOLDLY. just last week he shared with me a deep burden to live out his convictions, as unconventional, quirky, conservative, liberal and detailed as they might be. sometimes he embarasses me when we are in a conversation with someone and he stops our small talk dead in its track to overtly encourage and compliment someone. but it is his conviction to show other people their beauty. and so he pursues it with wild abandon…
Easy going. some may call it people pleasing. and i am sure that sometimes it is. but a lot of times ben honestly wants to go to the restaurant you want to, or play the game you have a hankrin for, or fix your favorite food for dinner because it is HIS HAPPY IS TO MAKE YOU HAPPY.
Nerdy. (just a bit) ben has a love for knowledge. he listens to mostly talk radio. cnn is tabbed as a favorite on his computer. stats and percentages mean a lot to him. he is a mad researcher before any big buy (this one is especially peace-of-mind-givng to me). he used to read the dictionary for fun. he was really good at greek. he loves to talk about intergenerational difference and cultural shifts. and he actually WANTS to go for a second masters. i love this about him.
Energy giving. Anne Bancroft (about her husband Mel Brooks) sums up my feelings towards life with Ben: “My heart flutters whenever I hear his key turning in the door and I think to myself, ‘O goody, the party is about to begin'”. Ben brings life wherever he goes.
Wise. now this one is a favorite. the bibilical definition of wisdom is “skill in living”. it’s not some pie in the sky deep thought. its his helping me understand my own heart when i do not like a person. it’s in the way he meets with the Lord and challenges me when i am not (jokingly, but seriously, because he knows how much it matters…). it’s how he has lead our family to write a mission statement…and then really stick to it. it’s in how he has committed proverbs to memory and remembers them in the dailyness of life and behind-the-scenes decisions.
Inspired. ben’s fuel in life is his dreams. you take them away from him and he shrivels up like a raisin in the sun. the nature of dreams is that they go beyond the man who is dreaming them, their life extending past the person’s. ben has dreams about the Bride of Christ, the Church, and her daily impact in individual communities. something particularly beautiful about ben’s dreams is that they are not generic or nameless. it is specific names, faces, and stories that put a fire in his gut.
Loud. lest i portray him as pure hero, one of my favorite things about ben is his obvious need for people. he is still very much “boy” in this way. sometimes while i surf the internet or cook or play with atticus, ben will become an obnoxious force (through LOUD singing or playfulness) that i can no longer ignore. i turn to him, exasperated, and ask, “WHAT?!”. to which he responds, “i think i need some attention”. i love how ben stays boyish and vulnerable, to me especially. we stay a team, mutual, from his need.
Leader. of course, ben is a leader in obvious ways in the church. but what tells me that he is a leader from the inside out is that he provides shape and direction in our home. and this is less about roles and more about personality. he often comes home with three options that i get to pick for our evening. he creates voting systems out of coins. he is always bringing us back to our family mission statement. when he makes dinner, it is never just a meal, it is an experience. life with ben as my leader is never boring.
Engaged. one prominent reason i married ben willey is because he is the only person who has outlasted me in a conversation (except his mother). when he comes home to play with our son, atticus becomes quiet, his eyes full moons, wondering at this strange man who refuses to quit until he gets a response. ben knows me the best because he has studied me the most. and he does not offer this gift of engagement only to his family, but to the many in his community.
Yaaawwwwnnn. (said in a sleepy voice as you stretch your arms) ok, this is the biggest stretch by far, but i just had to get this concept in here. it is the concept of quiet settledness. i would say ben is growing in this. he is known for his energy yet he is learning the art of evenings at home with a book and a blanket. he is taking the time to listen to himself – to what hobbies he would like to develop, to what fills and empties his soul, to what makes him truly him. i love this developing side of him; that he is silencing the many voices around him (even his wife!) to see what just he and the Lord say when the influences die down. when all the noises fade away, I love who is left standing.
and this is why sept 21 is no ordinary day. happy birthday love.