can i call you laura? i feel such a kinship with you after watching you these past 8 years. you can call me lea... do you feel the kinship yet?
anyway, as i watched the inauguration events today on television, well, perhaps watched is too strong a word... as i had the television on all day while i was cleaning (i do host a wednesday morning Bible study and this place has to be clean for those ladies), i watched you and you husband so graciously end what must have been the LONGEST and shortest 8 year chapter of your lives. and it struck me that you were leaving your home of 8 years. i was cleaning up my home for 9 years and i couldn't imagine having to leave it (though i am sure you didn't have to do ALL of the packing yourself), but i realized it must be both hard to close the doors behind you and yet a bit of a relief to close those doors.
you never looked like someone with conflicting emotions today (and we have a nice television which showed you rather clearly in high definition). you looked as you have always looked throughout the years that we have all been watching you... calm, composed, and strong beyond belief. you looked like a woman who loves her husband, her family, her country, and her God.
i want to thank you for what you have stood for the last 8 years... you have been a wife who has seen her husband through some tough days and held his hand to give him the strength he so badly needed during some of them most heart wrenching days in our country’s history. you have been a mother to daughters who are going their own ways and i know the phone lines were full of conversations and times you wanted to be with them, but couldn't. you have been a teacher. having been a teacher myself, i recognize in you what i see in myself, the love of learning and the joy of passing along knowledge to others, especially young people. you are a reader and you love books and love reading out loud words and sentences and stories that make this world make a little more sense. you have always been humble and you have always had a smile. you have been a tremendous role model for so many.
i bet that today you felt like i did at the end of our huge road trip from florida to washington, d.c. this summer when at long last our GPS said “you have arrived at your destination” and we were in our driveway. there was relief, grateful for traveling mercies and safety. i was so ready to go inside my house and just be home. i was thankful for the journey, the memories, the things learned and seen and yet, thrilled to be home. a bit sad to miss the eating out, someone making my bed, seeing and doing exciting things, but north, south, east or west, home is always the best.
as the press was making a huge to do over mrs. obama's outfit of the day (which was quite stunning, i will admit), they never mentioned what you were wearing. and truth be told, i can't remember any of your outfits from the past 8 years (which i am sure saddens some fine designers greatly). and i appreciate that i don’t recall any of the clothing. as a woman who has chosen to live off of my husband's income, i can't afford fine clothes or the latest come and go trends. i know you were always neatly and appropriately dressed (a goal that i don't always live up to), but you were not overly concerned with the latest fashion or trends. i believe that you were more concerned with matters more important, character and compassion. and that speaks to me more than the most beautiful clothing. your gentle and quiet spirit is your style and i venture to say that it will never leave your wardrobe.
so please tell you husband that he has our gratitude. and tell him that he married way above himself (i think he actually said that line when we saw him speak at the furman university graduation ceremony this past spring). i prayed for him (almost) every morning before dawn for the last 8 years. i prayed for his father before him and i will pray for our new president diligently. thank you for being a wife and mother and a role model for so many. thank you for the past 8 years, for moving to washington and leaving your home behind and now for leaving that home behind and moving again. i can imagine that in a way, you haven't really felt "at home" for a while and i hope that will change soon. “you have arrived at your destination”, at least until your next adventure and who know what God has in store for you and your family.
may you have a moment to put your feet up tonight (because those heels you had on today did not look comfy). may your new home be cozy and warm and may you have a good book to read and someone to always teach.
lea noblin marshall