When I came home from running errands yesterday, I found a florist’s delivery on my back porch—rich, red long-stemmed roses. The gift card had no words, only numbers: 6-6-66.
Yesterday, 6-6-09, was the 43rd anniversary of the day I met Johnny Piper in the lounge of Fischer Hall at Wheaton College. God has brought us a long way since then.
When I got the flowers, Johnny was in Raleigh. Remembering the many times he’s told a favorite what-if story, I texted him: “Oh Johnny, they’re beautiful! Why did you?”
He responded: “It’s my duty”—which, of course, is a joke that always gets a laugh. (You can scroll to the bottom of this message to see the story I'm talking about.)
It gets a laugh in America, but some audiences elsewhere might not get the humor, according to a friend who lives in China. When she was hospitalized there a few years ago, a group of her students came to visit and brought gifts. She exclaimed, “How nice! You didn’t need to go to all this trouble.”
As with one cheerful voice, the young people responded, “Of course we did. It’s our duty.”
I leave for China today. It’s my pleasure.