Happily married for 40 years, a friend of mine from New York says that one of the (several) reasons his marriage has survived when so many others have crashed is a single, simple act of self-discipline. Every payday for more than three decades, he’s brought home six roses for his wife: sometimes three red, sometimes three pink, but always three white. Sometimes he forgets. A few times he’s fallen out of the habit for months or even a year; but sooner or later he always remembers and forces himself back into the habit.
I once told him that using words like “self-discipline” and “forcing” himself back into a habit can sound a lot less than romantic to outsiders. Some might even see the gift of flowers as old-fashioned and sentimental. But he just laughed. In the long run, he said – if you want a long run – it’s the little things that count in a marriage; the things that dot the vast sea of ordinary life with moments of meaning and beauty. Passion comes and goes, recedes and returns; love needs to be cultivated like a garden, carefully and constantly. Flowers aren’t magic, he said. They can’t mask insincerity, and they won’t get you off the hook if you’ve done something really stupid or bad. But it’s the habit, the simple discipline, of saying “I think of you; I remember you; I love you” without words, and more powerfully than words, again and again over time, that proves the feeling and cements one human heart to another.
Point - Story
So what’s the point of my story?
As with the persons we love, so with God. We can teach about God with eloquence and grace; we can pour all our strength into helping the poor; we can sing his praises with golden tongues –...
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