This is JoBeth.
She has a lot of nicknames. Jojo,Jobaby, Jobillygoat, Jobarf (sorry), Jobeezy, Joclutch (that one might have been self given), Jo, Jobeff (thanks to my 3 year old nephew Everett), and many others. But my favorite nickname for her is Mrs. Hill. (Okay so it’s not technically a nickname, more of a formal/legal name, but you get the point.)
JoBeth is my wife. I know what you’re thinking. Why did she, the beautiful babe up there, decide to marry me, the twerp behind the keyboard. It’s a valid question, and it is one that I have asked myself many times. There was a time when I didn’t think this would happen. Well, those of you who know us and know our story actually know that there were several times when this didn’t seem like it would happen. Paul, in scriptures, says that marriage is a “great mystery.” In our case, I think the great mystery he is referring to is why someone like JoBeth would choose to say “I do” to someone like me.
We met on a church trip when JoBeth wasn’t even old enough to drive (we were 16 and 14). If you have ever met JoBeth, you know that after one conversation with her you somehow feel as if she is your best friend. So I, along with many others who have met her, quickly gained a new best friend. But I knew that I wasn’t content with another best friend.
You see, there’s something different about JoBeth. People are automatically drawn to her. In high school, if you walked through the halls with JoBeth it was a pretty slow process. Not because she’s a slow walker, which is probably the furthest thing from the truth. It was a slow process because JoBeth seemed to have a unique handshake with almost every person she saw in the hall. People from the track team, soccer team, friends from class, somebody she used to ride the bus with in 2nd grade, the kid who just happened to have a locker next to hers. It was unbelievable, and so much fun to watch.
Fast forward five years and it is not uncommon to be walking around Knoxville with JoBeth and hear her heartily greet somebody who, as far as I know, is a complete stranger. There’s laughter and hugs and smiling and “Oh my gosh how are you?”s. It’s like two old friends reconnecting after years apart. “Hey JoBeth, how did you know them?” “Uh I’m not sure, I think maybe I stood next to her in line at the cafeteria once.” It is barely an exaggeration. I told you, she makes everyone feel like she is their best friend.
JoBeth is joyful, passionate, and indeed, full of life. She brings an excitement and energy into every new day. She is thoughtful and kind. She is fiery and competitive, but she is even more loving and gracious. She is the kind of person that I hope to become.
During one of the toasts at our rehearsal dinner, a good friend of ours said that JoBeth personifies John 10:10 when Christ said “I have come that they may have life, and have it to the full.” He couldn’t have been more correct. She is such a beautiful picture of the full, abundant life that Christ came to offer. May we all seek to live life with the kind of contagious love and joy that JoBeth is teaching me to have each and every day. May we each strive to love people with a secret handshakes up and down the hall, hugging and laughing with strangers kind of love that JoBeth has shown me and so many others.