Today is your Birthday! It seems only right that I looked outside this morning and see the Kentucky ground covered with a beautiful snow. Up against our new Kentucky house that you designed, it looks like a Thomas Kincaid painting … which seems so fitting for you because you are a classic.
You are the person who makes my life steady and strong. You truly are the best person I know. Not sure why I would get to marry you. I don’t feel worthy, but certainly God has a sense of humor and knew you needed a lifelong project. I am that! Truthfully, we all are that. I thought you were perfect when we met in Fort Worth, Texas in 1981, but I was wrong. I’ve seen God continue to carry out Philippians 1:6 in you for the past 35 years. Incredibly, you are seasoned and much better than I found you through His work in you — Our hope of glory. This is your day… I want to publically honor you and tell everyone how blessed I am to be your wife and your best friend. You’re one in a million! I love you with all my heart.
Who is Bill Langley? Let me attempt to answer that ….
Sometimes people wonder if their parents had a favorite. In our family there was no wondering about it. My mom clearly and unapologetically loved Bill more than anyone else. They were kindred spirits. We were blessed to have my parents as members of two of our churches. On Sundays when he walked in the auditorium, she would lean over to me at church and say with tears in her eyes, “Look at him, … he doesn’t even know how impressive he is. He is so tall and straight. He is so dignified and presidential. He can’t help it. Look at him! There is nobody like Bill.” My mom’s love language was service, and she hit the jackpot with Bill. He would fix things for her. They would confer on all things practical in life that needed to be done. They would talk about which saw blade might be the best for this project or that … how to best clean gutters … which ladder was the safest … the best time to fertilize the yard … how to maintain a fireplace … which air conditioning filters would last the longest. On Thanksgiving morning they would meet at 4:00 a.m. in the kitchen to put the turkey in the oven together for all our years to come. He’d walk in their house and the first thing she’d say is “Bill, want me to fix you a hamburger?” They had a very special relationship.
My Dad was equally thankful for Bill, mostly cause he took the heat off of him to have to do all those things Mama wanted done that he loathed doing or discussing. Bill was a sponge at the feet of my dad to soak in all things preaching and pastoring. They enjoyed long discussions about the deeper matters of all things spiritual and all things humorous. My family is a family of storytellers, and Bill loved that about my family. They were Oklahoma spoken, in the most endearing way. Bill laughs until he can’t get his breath at the little sayings that were everyday phrases to me. I didn’t know they were unusual until Bill joined our family. My family was the stage and Bill was the audience. They each soaked in the roles they played. My mom and dad were Bill’s biggest cheerleaders- they would talk endlessly about the virtues of Bill. They would say, “can you believe that Bill? He can just do about anything; I’ve never met anyone to beat him. Sheri, can you believe you got to marry him?” Part of me wanted to say, “Well, I am your daughter … it shouldn’t be that surprising!” But the truth was, I couldn’t either! Where did this guy come from? We would all three spend the next hours agreeing with each other over the greatness of Bill Langley.
By the time I brought Bill in to meet my brother, Mark, my brother was tired of being introduced to someone that might or might not become his brother-in-law. He’d had it with me … and he was through trying to impress these guys. He was indifferent at best. But then Bill walked in and picked up Mark’s guitar and started playing and singing …without a word, Mark was on team Bill Langley. The brother he never had. Bill would listen to Marks stories and laugh until he cried. My sister, Gina was only 15 when I brought Bill to meet my family. Our family is very affectionate. Gina demonstrates this beautifully. She is the best at giving meaningful hugs. The first time she hugged Bill, she said, “He is so straight and tall.” She still calls him B. For her kids, he is the beloved “Uncle B.” My grandma Davis said, “Sheri, I believe he is gonna make a good little preacher” … which for my grandma was the ultimate compliment — “he’ll make a good little preacher.” He certainly is, and she would be proud.
My family thought it was equally enchanting that he was from the far away land called Kentucky. It sounded very romantic and mysterious. Yes, Bill was and is the favorite with my family. He is so humble that non of us ever were jealous of that. He brought stability, calm, strength, order and peace to our high strung, overly opinionated family. I think I can speak for my whole family when I say Bill Langley is our favorite. He’s my true renaissance man who can wear a suit and look amazing but also a flannel shirt with Levis and melt my heart. My Bill, I love you.
Happy Birthday Honey!! Philippians 1:6 “He who began a good work in you will complete it until the day of Christ Jesus.”