I dropped a pair of boots off to be polished yesterday, and I guess I was in a sentimental mood. “Paul,” I said, “how long have you been polishing my boots?” The two of us reminisced for a while, and finally concluded that our professional and personal relationship is at least a quarter century old. We both recalled that I wrote a column about him sometime back in the 1990’s. And we both remembered that I brought in my son Josh, who was about ten or eleven at the time, so that he could experience the joys of a professional boot shine. Josh is now thirty-eight years old.
We live in a world where we throw away many things. We throw away clothes that our grandparents or great-grandparents would have “mended.” We trade in our cars and trucks when they start having mechanical problems. We give away perfectly good phones or laptops in order to have the latest and greatest. Aided and abetted by an emotionally empty digital world, we sometimes terminate long-standing relationships because of ideological or political differences.
Today I’m taking the time to give thanks for things that last. For almost three decades Paul has kept my old boots looking good. Even more importantly, he has been a steady friend and presence in my life. In our throw-away world, I’m taking a moment to think about the people who have always been there, and to give thanks to God for the role they have played in my life, whether large or small. In the end, life is a tapestry woven by many people and many events, and every single one of them is important.