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 is signaling the entry of one the great periods in all of sports.

It’s World Series time.

It’s where a lifetime of memories are made for baseball fans like you and me. Fans who know that football and basketball simply give us something to do and watch while waiting for another baseball season to begin.

The World Series, beginning in a few days. A time of remembering, reflecting upon and comparing similar moments in the past, of 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 a few days.

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 1967, when Lynda and I were married. The month was October and the Red Sox were set to square off against Bob Gibson and the powerful St. Louis Cardinals in the World Series. Our wedding was in June, and we 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 safety of our aircraft and flight crews, he allowed me to go 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 began immediately, and continued to build as I drove home. And so when a florist shop came into view as I was driving, I stopped and bought two yellow roses. The florist put them into a field of little white flowers called “baby’s breath”, and then wrapped the entire arrangement tenderly in green tissue paper and a yellow ribbon.

One dollar more.

But now 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 the two yellow roses which I pushed out toward her. She never said a word about the brown paper bag hanging from my other hand.

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-five years—in a few days to be forty-six—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 for us of the renewal of a lifetime commitment to my bride—who was and remains a precious gift from God. And each year, no matter what is going on in our lives at the time, it is a moment and 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 those important things in life. Is there a tradition you had that needs to be renewed? Is there one you would like to start?

Traditions, cherished and nurtured, move us toward and remind us and others, of a higher, more majestic view of life, of the special people in our life and the dreams for our lives which God has placed within our hearts.

Traditions—in their purest form—build memories and lives.

Happy World Series to my precious bride!

In His Name—Scott

Copyright 2012. Scott L. Whitaker. All rights reserved.