Today is the anniversary of the deaths of my late husband (Frederick B. Hayes, 1935 - 2000) and also of the Reverend Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., two men Nancy loved and the former of whom grew to love gays and lesbians both as persons and as children of God through her friendship, faithfulness, and goodness.
Nancy, with Letha Dawson Scanzoni, wrote the landmark book All We're Meant to Be, a ground-breaking work that has freed (and continues to free) thousands of evangelical women who were taught as little girls that by virtue of gender they were insufficient in the eyes of the Church and of God.
Nancy is on leave from Clemson University, where she's taught in the philosophy department for twenty or so years. She has published extensively, both books and articles, and is a founder of the organization Evangelical and Ecumenical Women.
(At their website you can find a more formal photo of Dr. Hardesty and also read several of her book reviews.)
Nancy has been under hospice care for several months due to pancreatic cancer that metastasized in May, 2010. I've just emailed her the photo above. I took it on Easter Sunday, 2000, just a few weeks after my own personal husband died, and she served as a pallbearer at his funeral. (Yes, there was that much love amongst the three of us.)
(To her left is Larry, the Chihuahua who continues to teach us that THOSE dogs are amongst the categories of who, what, and where we're called to love.)
Christian Feminism Today, the quarterly publication of EEWC, published Nancy's "Some Thoughts on Living and Dying" in the Winter 2011 issue. The essay is not currently available at the website, but you can order a copy (and/or join the organization) at that address. The essay is beautiful and honest and kind and sane and authentic -- in other words, it looks just like Nancy.
Today I'm sending copies of the essay to my children and grandchildren, who are close personal friends of hers and who will forever admire her skill in decorating Christmas cookies.
I want to share with you, in the form of a found fibonacci, the closing words of Nancy's essay. I offer them as a gift to you on this most special of days, in recognition of Nancy's undiminishable love and joy. God's going to be lucky to get her.
by Nancy A. Hardesty
1 But /
1 I /
2 view the /
3 dying process as /
5 an adventure, a learning experience, /
8 and I look forward to my next assignment /
13 from the One whose love is steadfast forever, that Creative Energy which sustains /
Excerpted from "Some Thoughts on Living and Dying" in Christian Feminist Today,
Winter (January - March), 2011