A short while ago, in August, Rebekah and I celebrated our twenty-third wedding anniversary. While I do not intend to write a commemorative column every year, this particular milestone is remarkable inasmuch as it represents, at forty-six years of age, exactly half of our lives.
Most everything else in our experience is becoming increasingly temporary. My last computer was obsolete after around eighteen months; the likelihood of my current car outlasting its loan is highly questionable; familiar faces at the businesses I frequent quickly disappear; and people often change allegiances (churches, insurance agents, spouses) on a whim, or when the next attractive looking offer comes along.
From disposable plates to single-use cameras, and watches we throw out rather than repair, we continue to devalue the fundamental values of all kinds of work by implying that it does not matter because it will be in the trash before we know it. My friend Gil showed me a Civil War-era wooden snuff container, it was ingeniously crafted without the need for metal hinges. The box survived so long not only due to the quality of the work invested but because of the value vested in work by nineteenth-century society.
It is the evidence and the work of time that adds richness and depth to the giddy hopes and dreams of young love. People who trade in short-term passion for one more exciting ride not only shortchange one another, but they fail to enjoy the cumulative fruits of a committed relationship that is designed to grow in substance over time.
Our social structure is being impoverished by a throwaway mentality that too often reaches even the most sacred of relationships. Commitment to the quality of such good work is the only option for people who value the worth of excellent things.