Sunday, May 20, 2012

Happy 40th, Coach Wolfe!

My birthday letter to Chris, who just celebrated his 40th birthday last Sunday. He is a gem, his friendship foundational to us, and just someone we love being with. Proud to be family, Chris.
"Ok, Essie, just take out the 2nd baseman if he gets in your way."
Dear Chris,

I think my first memory of you is standing in front of Memorial, clusters of Fijis and Tri Delts - and me - talking and shooting the breeze on a sunny day, headed in and out of the cafeteria. I remember you in your little red sports car, though I still can’t tell you what make it was, zipping around Baylor campus. And how I never understood what the big deal was until, several years later, you graciously loaned it to me for a month and all the young male engineers where I worked freaked out over it when I pulled it into the parking lot.
In those early college years, two decades ago, I associated you with that little car. And starched white shirts with tie bars, which I had never before seen. And always, always that charming grin.

Once Corbin and I started dating, it wasn’t long before I saw a lot of depth behind your car and clothes. A tremendous amount of depth behind that grin. In those hours upon hours discussing history classes and relationships and gossip and who-knows-what in your and Corbin’s apartment(s), you became a trusted friend, with the added bonus of an uncanny ability to make me and anyone else around laugh hard and often. WHO can tell stories like Chris Wolfe?

So when my mind fast-forwards twenty years, the sports car and tie bars are long gone. Watching you as a father of five and husband to (funny, godly, incredible) Sarah is almost too much. My joy seriously cannot be contained looking at God’s work in your life, and in turn your obedience to Him. I am reminded that even before I ever met you, before those Baylor days, the Lord had a calling on your life. Actually, the calling on your life is older than you are - it certainly predates your meager forty years. You were chosen by Him in eternity past.

“Before I formed you in the womb I knew you. Before you were born I set you apart.”

I am one of many who have the privilege of seeing your life unfold to fulfill his purposes - affecting generations through your own marriage and children, not to mention all those other marriages you’re giving of your time and wisdom and energy to repair, rebuild.

Set apart. That grin even in our college years was a reflection of your calling, the magnetic draw He gave you, your natural love and appreciation for people. But to see the working out of that calling is just magnificent. It touches myself, my husband, my family deeply.

We love, love, love you Chris Wolfe. Happy 40th, dear friend!

Even with 5 boys of his own, Chris manages to makes time for our boys as well
Affection for Bran!
No doubt entertaining with a hilarious (surely un-exaggerated) story
The Wolfe boys. Can't decide if they're more accomplished at piano recitals or on the baseball field.
Corbin with Chris and the Wolfe boys. Most of them. Graham, their first-born (in brown), is named "Wilson." All these years we've let Mama and Papa think it's after them, but Corbin and I know the truth.