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“What if it’s the little things that make a big difference?” That’s the tag line for Melanie Shankle’s latest book Church of the Small Things. With her Dave Barry-esque humor, the author challenges us to embrace the mundane. To stop living for the grand gesture, mountain top type moments and realize the importance of our daily, faithful routines.
Toward the end of the book, Shankle (affectionately known to her fans as Big Mama), shared a quote from her daughter’s 7th grade English final: “some people stand out more than others, like neon posters on a beige wall.” She went on to explain that we don’t always take notice of the beige wall, but it is the thing that holds up the neon poster. The beige wall allows the neon poster to shine bright.
I have the privilege of being married to a beige wall. My husband is introverted and even-tempered. He will never be called the life of the party. He is a meat and potatoes, non-creative who prefers TV to books. He doesn’t have money or power or a postgraduate degree. What he does have is the respect of everyone who knows him.
Two different times this past year, Chuck found himself out of a job. Both times he secured employment in relatively short order because someone he knew pursued him. Not the other way around. That’s what happens when you quietly live a life of integrity. When you are genuine and warm and love others the way Jesus does, people want to be in community with you. When you are hard-working, honest and loyal, people want to work with you.
In contrast, Chuck has two neon poster kind of kids. His son is a med school student who has never met a stranger. He’ll soon be a doctor with bedside manner to spare. Our daughter Allie is an outgoing 7th grader with personality for days. She is loud, fun-loving and infuriating. She sings, acts, makes straight A’s, plays ukulele and volleyball. And although I’m not as bright and shiny as the kids, I might categorize myself as a pale pink poster – somewhere between neon and beige. I am social, like to crack a joke, and am creative – if only in my writing.
My husband hold us all up. He is our physical, financial and emotional support. He keeps us on a more even keel than we would keep ourselves and brings us down to earth when we get too big for our britches. And he is our biggest cheerleader – shouting louder than anyone for the accolades, accomplishments, milestones and volleyball games.
A couple of weeks ago, I wrote of feeling like nothing was truly safe anymore. You can find that post here. Although I am already rebounding about life in general, even then, my husband was a safe place. When everything else seemed to be crumbling around me, WE felt stronger than ever. For this, and for so many other things, it is my privilege to be the one cheering HIM on.
I am so grateful for my strong, supportive, beige wall.