Jack Nicholson looks across the table at Helen Hunt and agonizes to make a compliment. It is not hat he does not have one to give. He does. But, his character, Melvin, suffers a terrible misanthropic streak. He expresses disdain for nearly all human beings until he meets her, Carol.
Melvin works hard to get the words in order. His malady always gets in the way making everyone suspicious of those few moments he is sincere. Finally, he gets his words out, “You make me want to be a better man.”
All of us have, or have had, edges we need smoothed out. We may not be as severe as Melvin. But, we, like Melvin, learn that being a better human being comes when we encounter great love.
There is little doubt that over the past thirty years, really thirty-four if you go back to the very beginning, the love Patty has expressed, in a kaleidoscope of ways, contributes to the desire of wanting to be a better man. I like to think I have never been like Melvin. But, you know there could have been flashes of such behavior to be sure.
When I think of how we might express the materiality of faith in the love of God in Jesus, I cannot help but think that this is the way we find the love of God tactile, real. Rather than invite someone into an ethereal, make-believe world of love, we come face to face with the love of God as it is expressed in the love and care of people given to Jesus’ Way. That this sort of love shows up outside of the confines of a Christian subculture must be evidence of mercy and extravagant grace.
If Patty reads this, she will at this point say, “Now you have gone to preaching.”
So, in the event she ventures over to consider these thoughts I share with you, “Happy 30th Anniversary, Patty. You have and continue to make me want to be a better man.” And, remember, Mom always made/makes a big deal that the official time the anniversary event is, in this case, really 7:00 p.m. this evening.