A Modern Parable by Jack Miller

Once there was a business man who had a wall plaque which said:

Love is patient
Love is kind
Love always trusts

He tried to apply these principles to his business … He was invited to speak about his view of life to the Rotary. Then came a chance to speak at the Lions Club and the Kiwannas.

He always spoke on the topic: Love is patient, Love is kind, Love always trusts.

It seemed he must have been doing something right because he made lots and lots of money.

But in the meantime, his wife separated from him, and his two grown sons stopped speaking to him and to one another.

Soon afterwards he developed a severe headache which would not go away.

He sought medical help, and the tests revealed that he had a ruptured blood vessel in the brain.

The doctors said that at the most he had only ten days to live.

For three days he was in a very, very blue funk, and he forgot all about his plaque on the wall.

On the fourth day he became a little more cheerful.

On the fifth day he decided that life was short and death was long, so he had better enjoy what little of life was left.

On the sixth day he called for his wife and sons and asked for their forgiveness. He said,” I have been a man of words and not a man of loving deeds.”

On the seventh day his sons were reconciled to him and to each other, and on the eighth day his wife was reconciled to him.

On the ninth day he had fun: he gave away a big sum of money to poor people in the ghetto.

On the tenth day he received a shock.

His embarrassed doctors told him he was not going to die. It was all a mistake.

His x-rays were flawed by a short in the machine, and his headache was an allergic reaction to a painkiller he had taken.

You may think he then sued the hospital. You are wrong. He did not.

Instead, he was patient, kind, and trusting.

He accepted his doctors’ explanation and said, “We all make mistakes.”

Then back in his office he looked once again at the wall plaque.

He took it down from the wall and changed it to read,

Love is patient,
Love is kind,
Love always trusts,
And it does all the above at home first!

Jack Miller, “More than Remission: The Power to Live, Love and Forgive in Tough Times (unpublished), n.d.

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