Just some early morning thoughts from me to you…
“…whatever is true, whatever noble…right…pure…lovely…admirable…think about such things.”
Philippians 4: 8 (NIV)
The cool weather remains to usher in one of the great periods in all of sports.
It’s an unlikely pairing for the 2010 World Series, between the Texas Rangers and the San Francisco Giants. For Texas it’s their first appearance in the fifty year history of the franchise, and for San Francisco, only the fourth appearance since the Giants moved from New York to San Francisco in 1958.
It’s World Series time. You can feel it in the air. Baseball at its best.
It’s where a lifetime of memories are made for fans like you and me. Remembering, reflecting upon and comparing similar moments in the past, as to every pitch, every at bat and hit, and every agonizing strikeout in a crucial moment. It’s a time of mountaintops and valleys beyond compare, in the short space of two weeks.
The most meaningful relationships in life are a lot like that. Exhilarating mountaintop highs, and depressing dry, dusty valley lows. Excitement mixed with a measure of heartache. Memories forever etched on the fields of fulfilled and unfulfilled dreams, home runs and strikeouts. Whether waking or sleeping, we cling to and cherish moments, traditions and values established through the years of our journey together. It’s life at its best—embracing the traditions and memories of the past—while looking forward to the best opportunities of the future.
There is purity somewhere in all of that, and in the fiber of every relationship.
One such pure moment started in the year of my Boston Red Sox—1967. The month was October and they were set to square off against Bob Gibson and the powerful St. Louis Cardinals in the World Series. Lynda and I had just been married in June, and enjoyed a honeymoon of a four day trip along US Highway 17 up the eastern coast of the United States from Florida back to Dover Air Force Base, Delaware. Dover Air Force Base was our assignment, as it turned out, for the first two years of our marriage.
As the time for the first pitch of the opening game drew closer, my supervisor at the Air Force Base Radar shop could sense my attention was elsewhere, rather than where it should have been on fixing the electronic navigational equipment for our military aircraft. Graciously, and probably for the flight safety of our aircraft, he sent me home to watch the afternoon game on television.
As I was driving off the base, I stopped at the Base Exchange (grocery) and bought a six-pack of Hamm’s beer (this was during a period in my life before I gave up drinking alcohol entirely a few years later). The cost was a whopping eighty-five cents, which, believe it or not, our meager budget could ill afford.
The guilt of spending that money on me began immediately, and continued to build within me on the drive home until it was more than I could handle. And so when a florist shop popped into view along my route home, I stopped, purchased two yellow roses, had the florist bed them into a field of little white flowers called “baby’s breath”, and then wrap the entire arrangement tenderly in green tissue paper and a yellow ribbon. One dollar more.
Feeling better about my earlier purchase, I headed home with my one-dollar bribe in hand. Lynda met me at the door and beamed at the sight of my diversion—the two yellow roses which I pushed out toward her—and she never said a word about the bag of beer in my other hand hanging at my side. In typical fashion my Red Sox lost game one to Bob Gibson’s record setting performance of seventeen strikeouts, and eventually lost the Series. But the tradition of the yellow roses, now I usually give her a dozen, given on the first day of every World Series, has continued without blemish for forty-three years—in a few days to be forty-four—despite its less-than-noble beginnings.
It was an unintended, and slightly selfish, beginning to a wonderful tradition which now undergirds a much higher message, and has become an annual symbol of the renewal of a lifetime commitment to my bride—a precious gift from God. Each year, no matter what is going on in our lives at the time, it is a reminder of our love and sacrifice to an ideal higher than self, higher than things and—believe it or not—higher than baseball.
Traditions, no matter their beginnings, are often a reminder of the simple purity and value of the important things in life. Traditions to be cherished and nurtured, moving us toward and reminding us, and others, of a higher, more majestic view of life, and the special people in our life, and the dreams for our lives which God has placed in our hearts.
Take a moment and renew one of those traditions which may have fallen by the wayside of busyness or distance—geographic or emotional, or begin one today, afresh and anew. Maybe World Series roses or something else just as simple and elegant.
Your life and the lives of others will be better, in their purest form.
Copyright 2010. Scott L. Whitaker. All rights reserved.