I enjoy calendrical coincidences, and March 1, 2017, is one of them: It is both Ash Wednesday and my sister’s 75th birthday. It’s fitting that these two occasions fall together, for the first day in Lent teaches us to live in humility and love, traits I see in my sister Nancy.
During the eulogy at our mother’s funeral in 2009, I mentioned a few gifts I had received from my parents. Then I said, “And I think the best gift my father and mother ever gave me was one not intended for me, having arrived six years before I was born. This gift is my sister Nancy, whom I have come to admire more and more over the years for her compassion, caring, and patience.”
On November 24, 2013, I preached my retirement sermon, in which I noted the many people who had supported and shaped me over the years. Of Nancy I said,
“Begin with one who has known me all of my life,
Putting up with me through sibling strife.
She has memories of me that even I do not hold;
Because of the two of us, she’s the one who is old!
I speak of my sister Nancy,
Who in her quiet, behind the scenes way,
Has supported and encouraged her kid brother
Day after day after day.”
Nancy has touched the lives of family and friends with compassion and grace. I am blessed to be her brother.
Note to my niece Jill and my nephew Mark: Your Mom, not being a computer person, will not see these words on her own. So please share with her that her baby brother was blogging—and bragging!—about her.