Today was the day. It was the day that George sat at a table with his committee to defend his work. Four dedicated, intelligent, loving, thoughtful, insightful cheerleaders held copies of George's dissertation and started asking questions.

It had never occurred to me that George would want me to be a part of this process, but late in the day yesterday, he asked me to be there and with some miraculous babysitter alignment, I was able to go. I sat there with just my water bottle. No child to bounce, no book to read, just Nalgene.

There in that room, four years flashed before me. George' s four years of collecting, studying, reading, writing, working, playing a lot of banjo, planting a lot of garden, cooking a lot of ethnic foods, brewing a lot of beer (he thinks best when he is doing something productive), raising children and chickens and sheep, staying up all night and then staying up all night again. All of this was there at the table along with the trips to far away places to learn and explain and enlighten.

In these years, we have lost sight of the goal, we have lost sight of the important. We have agonized over what the next step would be only to watch it appear before us in the blink of an eye and usually after begging God for direction and guidance and grace.

We have also found what is important. We have found brilliance and creativity and laughter. We have found a deep passion for seeking equality and justice and real opportunity for those without the graces we've been given; yet, at the same time we want to try and live off the grid of a system that doesn't treat these people fairly. We want to live in a way that praises the work of artists and thinkers and creators, where people's gifts can't be liquidated but utilized and shared. There is a fine balance we have yet to reach and will keep striving to reach it.

We have discovered that community is the cornerstone of our lives and without our community, we would have crumbled. The community of friends, believers, thinkers, musicians, gardeners, drinkers, writers, and discoverers.

So as George discussed matters greater than my mind could comprehend, as he absorbed the direction and correction and praise, my heart beat with admiration and love and pride and fear and I thought about how we arrived at that table.

It was a simple, plain room. It was a big brown table with weird blue chairs. His chair was swirly and mine didn't move. I wish I could have switched with him because the Nalgene emptied and I had to practice sitting completely still.

Then the meeting ended and the dissertation is defended. In May, George will receive a piece of paper stating that he is a Doctor of Language and Literacy in Education. Well, at least that is what I think it will say!

I am powerfully proud of my husband. George didn't choose an easy topic. He went to the edge and studied what was there. He teetered there and still does because that is where George likes to be, but that is what I love about him, that is what makes my heart still skip some beats and beat to many beats when I see him in his element. And I am so thankful to his committee for believing in him and questioning him and pushing him onward!


  1. Congratulations to George and the whole family on this amazing achievement! Blessings as you take the next step.


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