One of the passages from my book take less. do more. that seems to be resonating with a lot of people is contained towards the end of Lesson 14.  It’s about the story you tell yourself.  Every life is filled with good and bad, undeserved lucky breaks and good fortune as well as bitter defeat despite best efforts and intentions.  We can focus on the negative, or we can chose to focus on that which is good, on the things that went right.

Part of focusing on the good is creating monuments to help you remember.  In relationships, as in life in general, there are good times and bad times.  There is the ‘ecstasy and the agony’.  If we become embittered by the negative, we miss opportunities for positive. A recent backpacking trip (where we crossed a river dozens of times) reminded me of story in the bible of Joshua leading the people of Israel over the river Jordan.  In the story, God held back the Jordan river, which was running at flood stage, so the tribes of Israel could cross over.  Joshua directed the leaders of the twelve tribes to each carry a stone from the middle of the river and make a monument of them on the bank, so that when their children asked ‘What do these stones mean?’, they could tell the story of crossing the Jordan.  The bible concludes the passage with this phrase about the stones…‘And they are there to this day.’  

Francie and I will celebrate 42 years of marriage next month.  I don’t claim any credit for this looming accomplishment.  I credit Francie’s toughness, and stubbornness, her refusal to give up on people, for this significant achievement.  We have certainly seen our fair share of hardship in those 42 years; failure of a business, near death in a plane crash, loss of parents, birth of a severely-disabled child, going a year without income, death of a child, clinical depression, cancer diagnoses.  But we have also seen unbelievable blessings during that time, and the support of many friends.

If you’ve read take less. do more., or perhaps my Tips from an Old Married Guy on the website, you know that we celebrate our anniversary not just on June 26, but on the 26 of EVERY month.  Because, me ending up with woman like Francie is pretty much like winning the Powerball lottery three times running, and once a year just doesn’t seem like enough to honor something that amazing.  

The picture above is three of the cards that I’ve given Francie on the 26th of some month, Anniversary Date Night as we call it.  Francie framed them and they hang in our master bathroom.  They serve as a monument, to remind Francie how much I love her, and to remind me how lucky I am to have her.  Like the stones piled up by the tribes of Israel to commemorate crossing the Jordan River, ‘they are there to this day’.  

What monuments will you create in your life to remember the good?

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