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From where I relax in my easy chair, I can see my bookcase. At the end of the bookcase on a middle shelf and in plain view is “God Never Blinks,” by Regina Brett, a great book, one which I read years ago and will never discard.
The book was staring at me last night. I got out of my easy chair and pulled it out of the bookcase.
The book is filled with sentences I’ve highlighted in yellow. Just so you know, I read non-fiction books with a yellow highlighter at my side. I read fiction with something to drink and eat at my side.
Anyway, “God Never Blinks,” subtitled “50 Lessons for Life’s Little Detours,” is a wonderful book. I’m not trying to discourage anyone from buying the book - just the opposite - but the essence of “God Never Blinks” can be found in the titles of the 50 lessons, all of which are highlighted in yellow in my copy.
What follows are some of Regina Brett’s 50 life’s lesson titles, which are followed by my thoughts in parentheses. Here they are:
Life isn’t fair, but it’s still good. (In fact, there are many times when life sucks, but living is still better than the alternative.)
When in doubt, just take the next step. (As Abraham Lincoln said, “I walk slowly, but I never walk backward.”)
Life is too short to waste time hating anyone. (Once again, as Abraham Lincoln said, “I destroy my enemies when I make them my friends.”)
Pay off your credit cards every month. (Great financial advice, but the people giving that advice are people who have the money to do that. Not everybody does. Maybe we shouldn’t use credit cards so often.)
You don’t have to win every argument. Agree to disagree. (Actually, you never win an argument. You may think you do, but you don’t.)
Cry with someone. It is more healing than crying alone. (Yes, but be careful where you cry. In the movie “A League of Their Own,” coach Jimmy Dugan (Tom Hanks) put it this way: “There’s no crying in baseball.” And there are other times and places where there should be no tears.)
Frame every so-called disaster with these words: “In five years, will this matter?” (Usually it won’t matter in five months.)
Life is too short for long pity parties. Get busy living, or get busy dying. (That’s exactly what Andy Dufresne, played by Tim Robbins, said to Red, played by Morgan Freeman, in the “Shawshank Redemption.” Andy also said, “Remember, Red, hope is a good thing, maybe the best of things, and no good thing ever dies.”)
Forgive everyone everything. (But have a good memory.)
A writer is someone who writes. If you want to be a writer, write. (Just don’t think it will be easy. As a great writer, Dorothy Parker, once said, “I hate writing, but love having written.”)
Breathe. It calms the mind. (There’s a reason Major League baseball players take a deep breath when standing at the plate waiting for a pitch.)
No matter how you feel, get up, dress up, and show up for life. (I’m not a big Woody Allen fan, but I did agree when he said, “Eighty percent of life is just showing up.”)
Those are some of Regina Brett’s life lessons.
One of my life’s lessons is never to write a column that’s too long. Much more than 600 words is usually too long because people don’t have time or they get bored with anything longer than that. We have just gone past 600 words.
Which reminds me of another of my life’s lessons: If you can’t fit it all into one newspaper column, do part two next week.