It made me proud to note that again and again... in speech after speech... story after story, people described The Husband as Approachable, Reliable, Trustworthy, Morally Courageous and Kind. Still, what was more meaningful was what people did NOT say than what they did say. No one said that on The Husband's watch, this or that KPI was hit and exceeded, even though the organisation collects KPIs aplenty and these show a picture of robust organisational functioning. No one praised The Husband for his powerful capacity for analysis and sheer speed of intellectual processing.
People didn't care about that. They didn't care one bit.
Instead, it was the words Kind and Morally Courageous which came forth again and again - qualities of the heart that bear no quantification and could only be illustrated by stories told and retold from the podium, in the words of real people with warm beating hearts. They listed The Husband's many achievements. Many of these in the last decade (when he came to a stage in his career where he was able to influence strategic thrusts) were various successful efforts to improve people's wellbeing at work, and through that, to deliver organizational results.
I guess at the end of a journey, no one really bothers about how much a leader KNOWS. People do remember how much he CARED... or cared not. This said, don't expect The Husband to SAY he cares nor gush about his concern. His face betrays little emotion and his words of praise are few. People were astute enough to note that he would just go and do something to make things better.
Little said. Much done.
For me, it was a dinner where I saw people honour my man for the qualities I love him for, but did not know other people could see as well. The Husband's kindness and empathy is often misconstrued as fearfulness. Many I have known who first meet The Husband and think him a pushover. He speaks gently and is more wont to give concessions than to demand them. Many people think he is kind... and weak.
All these years, I thought I was alone in knowing that running deep inside The Husband was a thread of moral courage that was as a steel cord. In some things we've lived through together, I worried and feared whilst The Husband stood steadfast and fearless because it was about "doing the right thing." Without a husband like mine, I would be a lesser woman than I am.
So I do think Chief Hobbit is a good nickname for The Husband. Hobbits don't look like much. They're fat and hardworking creatures who like a warm bed and good food... preferring a life with less adventure than more. It's easy to look down on a Hobbit, until push comes to shove, and you discover that it was The Hobbit who stood by you, spoke up for you, acted on your behalf.
For the very first time in 2 decades, I felt a sense of real connection with The Husband's colleagues. Hey... they see the same thing I see!! I love Hobbits. I'll take a Hobbit over an Elf any day! And what's more I got to bask in reflected glory... The Husband's secretary appreciated The Husband so much that she gave ME a farewell gift.
The Husband has his feet firmly on the ground however, "Petunia, people will say nice things. It's a farewell. No one will say bad things. Don't let it get to your head." So ok... I'll just be contented with knowing that The Husband has many many friends.