Years ago, I watched a television interview with the late, legendary tenor Luciano Pavarotti. The interviewer asked him about the discipline involved in being a great opera singer. Was it overwhelming? Too much for mere mortals? He paused and thought for a very long moment (probably gathering his English in the same way I often must assemble my Italian.)
Then he said, “There is a difference between discipline and devotion.” What he said after that, I don’t recall. However, I instantly understood the emotional component that may be present in discipline, but must be omnipresent in devotion.
And I take comfort in that fine distinction: my discipline falls short on a regular basis. Writing deadlines fall lifeless on the calendar and must be resuscitated, propped up, and marched forward, stumbling to some future date. Exercise regimens come and go, with only some basic yoga and long, daily walks falling into the ‘consistent’ category. I’m certain I made some new year’s resolutions, but, at this point in time, I don’t remember what they were.
Still, I remain devoted: to my wife, to my writing, to a few friends and a few ideals, and to a Higher One who men call by many different names. That devotion pulls me forward, sometimes reluctantly, but inevitably, to accomplish some goals, to honor commitments as best I can, and to remember to laugh.
It’s an uneven and discouraging process at times, with results both infrequent and difficult to quantify. But I carry on, with less discipline than devotion, confident that, at some point in time, it will all be worthwhile.