September 12-13, 1970
Although Nate was a diligent student who put his work ahead of almost everything else, I never had trouble coaxing him to take a break with me – whether it was to go for a walk, splurge on a Dairy Queen cone, or head into the bedroom.
I felt secure in knowing that though his studies were important to him, he made me an even higher priority. What girl could want more than that?
After a grueling week, especially for him, we were eager for the weekend when Chicago friends Kathy and Bob would arrive for 24 hours. The 4 of us had met in undergrad days — Kathy and I at Wheaton, Bob and Nate at Northwestern.
These two had actually introduced Nate and I on that fateful blind date when I’d worn only underwear beneath my Jackie Kennedy coat. We would be forever indebted to them.
Bob and Nate had much in common. Both were in law school, and both loved discussing current events. Both were facing uncertainty with the Army gobbling up young men as it was, and both were working hard to please their new wives.
When Kathy and Bob arrived, we enjoyed catching up on all our friends from college days, and the weekend was a big success. We visited a flea market where Nate splurged on two spoon rings for us. Bob picked up the tab at the Chinese restaurant, and we howled over silly pictures from our early days together.
Though Nate and I were late for the church service, we were on time for our Sunday school class of young marrieds, which met afterwards. Ralph, the head pastor everyone loved, was our teacher, and he was always ready with stirring questions that prompted lively discussion each week.
I admired the way he settled debates with Scripture. On this particular Sunday, though, we were surprised by what happened. One of the young husbands, Martin, was frustrated by the way the dialogue was going and began criticizing Ralph with harsh words.
The rest of us sat speechless as he raised his voice and overstepped his bounds, saying things we knew he would regret. Ralph, trying to be gracious, was being steamrolled, and none of us knew what to do.
Then Nate jumped in.
He addressed Martin directly, and without using any unkind words, he pointed out the flaws in his arguments. Then he took Martin to task over the way he was disrespecting our pastor, silencing him in the process. As Nate spoke, I glanced at the others in the room. Some were nodding. Others were grinning. And I was bursting with pride.
Though Ralph reached out to Martin after class, Martin seemed unable to reach back, but I imagine our soft-spoken pastor thought about that difficult morning all afternoon.
During our evening stroll, Nate asked for my opinion about the class, hoping he hadn’t said too much. I assured him his words were very much needed, and after praising his tactful but effective Martin-muzzling, my only other thought was, “I feel sorry for his wife…”
….which, of course, was because I had it so good.
“As we have opportunity, let us do good to everyone, and especially to those who are of the household of faith.” (Galatians 6:10)