A couple of hours ago I was sitting in an Indian restaurant with Donna and two of our sons, where we had stopped on our way from Rome to the Atlanta airport. After devouring a rather tasty vegetable pakora dipped in tamarind sauce, I paused to bask in the feelings of mutual love, respect, and admiration we all shared with and for each other. There was not a shred of contention in that gathering, nor even doubt or hesitation or confusion.
Unable to resist a temptation to share a teaching moment, I said, “This is a bit of a miracle. Here we sit in a comfortable and pleasant environment, eating a meal prepared for us by people from the other side of the world, listening to soothing music. We can afford to eat this meal. We’re enjoying each other’s company. It’s difficult to imagine how this could be better, and I’m grateful for this and for you.
“And I consider how this celebration of life did not come without a price. We all studied in school and prepared ourselves for careers that have been rewarding on multiple levels. We learned—sometimes at great cost—to make loving decisions, instead of wallowing in pain, victimhood, and anger. We learned to adjust to—and appreciate—each other’s differences in personality and style. We are enjoying this miracle in great part because we were willing to make progressively better choices on thousands of previous occasions, most of which were deceptively minor at the time. Never did we give in—not for long, at any rate—to the many temptations we encountered to take the seductively easier paths in life that lead to ultimate misery.”
Some of my lessons in life were hard-won, as I waded through pain, resistance, fear, and confusion with faith and persistence. But they were worth it, all for moments like we had today.
And there will yet be many difficult moments to come in my life, and I hope I remember on those occasions that as I choose as wisely as possible, the lessons that I learn will make possible moments ever more rewarding—even glorious—than the time I spent today with Donna and our sons.