I had a chance to read the soon to be published book, God Never Blinks, by Regina Brett, a columnist for the Cleveland Plain Dealer, Pulitzer Prize finalist, and radio show host on NPR.
When she turned fifty, Brett wrote a column on the 50 lessons she learned in a life that included single parenthood, breast cancer, her relationships with others and with God. It turned out to be one of the newspaper's most popular columns, one that has been emailed hundreds of thousands of times over.
I read inspirational books like this every once in a while, that give reminders to appreciate life as I live it. Some of the lessons in God Never Blinks were ones I've heard before, Saving for Retirement, Don't Compare Your Life to Others', Growing Old Beats the Alternative. However, there were other lessons and phrases that jumped out at me, and really hit home.
The very first lesson talked about using the words "get to" instead of "have to." The last few hours of my day are always chaotic, with all the things I have to do, cooking dinner, giving the kids their baths, reading soon to be overdue library books. The great thing is, I get to laugh with my kids in their bath, I get to read them their books. I get to do so much in my life.
As a Stay At Home Mom, I appreciated Lesson 37, Your Children Get One Childhood, Make it Memorable. Brett felt guilty over being a single parent, until she learned to live in the moment, to find joy and meaning in it, instead of worrying about their happiness in the future. I think this applies if you are a single parent, have a partner, work or stay at home, it's a great reminder to be present for your children. I think to myself over and over, I only have one shot, they grow in the blink of an eye, so I'm going to enjoy them while they'll let me!
One lesson was my favorite, Don't Save Anything for a Special Occasion, Today is Special Enough. Brett had a collection of candles that she saved, to use on the right occasion, until her breast cancer battle changed her perspective. She writes that we all have an expiration date, life is too short to waste doing anything joyless. So she stopped saving things for special occasions, because every day is special. I agree with her. My husband gave me a pair of diamond earrings when my son was born, I wear them every single day. They are beautiful, and special, so I celebrate every day when I wear them.
Lesson 31 is titled, No matter how good or how bad a situation is, it will change. Sometimes when life is going well, I get nervous that something bad is going to happen. And when something bad does happen, I just want to get through it and go on. Brett had a great analogy for living life with its ups and downs: ride life like a raft in a river, let it carry you through the white water into the still. Basically, good times come and go, and bad times come and go. Our job is not to cling to one or fight the other but allow them both to teach us and polish us. I might have to write that one down and put it on my refrigerator.
I found the lessons in God Never Blinks to be straight forward, and inspiring, one that I can see myself going back to when I need a lift.
You can read more about Regina Brett on her website, http://www.reginabrett.com/, a portion of the proceeds of God Never Blinks will help to support the Gathering Place, which offers free services for anyone touched by cancer.
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