By Chuck Lauer
I recently discovered the writings of Regina Brett a couple of months ago and what a pleasure it is to read her observations about life. She is a professional journalist and successful author, and has been writing for the Cleveland Plain Dealer for years.
Back in 2006, Regina wrote a column about the “45 lessons life taught me." It became the most requested column she had ever written and was sent out all over the world. Apparently after reading the “45 lessons” column, someone either out of spite or jealousy e-mailed her column to a number of people, claiming Regina Brett was 90. In actuality, she is a mother in her 50s, and her picture reveals a most attractive lady and vital person.
Her column of “45 Lessons in Life” came about she says, because "the lessons reflect what I learned from life as a single mother for 18 years, struggling to find the right partner in life, battling breast cancer and healing the bruises from a bumpy childhood. And they reflect what I have learned from readers for 27 years as a journalist." Along with a number of awards and tributes, she has written two books, God Never Blinks: 50 Lessons for Life's Little Detours plus Be the Miracle: 50 Lessons for Making the Impossible Possible. She was a finalist for a Pulitzer Prize in 2008 and again in 2009.
I was almost immediately captivated by the 45 lessons she listed in her column on what life has taught her. Let me share some of them with you.
1. Life isn't fair. but it's still good.
3. Life is too short to waste time hating anyone. Change the way you think.
4. Your job won't take care of you when you are sick. Your friends and family will. Stay in touch.
7. Cry with someone. It's more healing than crying alone.
11. Make peace with your past so it won't screw up the present.
13. Don't compare your life to others. You have no idea what their journey is all about.
15. Everything can change in the blink of an eye.
18. Whatever doesn't kill you really does make you stronger.
19. It's never too late to have a happy childhood, but the second one is up to you and no one else.
20. When it comes to going after what you love in life, don't take no for an answer.
These are a few of her musings about life and I must admit they all make sense to me as do the others I will cite shortly. But what she writes should be of no surprise to anyone since they come from a woman who writes about the cost of raising a child in these words: "What do you get for your money? Naming rights. First, middle and last. Glimpses of God every day. Giggles under the covers every night. More love than your heart can hold. Butterfly kisses and Velcro hugs. A hand to hold, usually covered with jam." Anybody who has been lucky enough to have children knows this story and it is all so honest and true in our hearts and memories.
More of Brett's thoughts include:
22. Just because you think you are right, doesn't mean you are. Keep an open mind.
25. Nobody is in charge of your happiness but you.
28. Forgive everyone everything.
29. What other people think of you is none of your business.
30. Time heals almost everything. Give time, time.
32. Don't take yourself so seriously. No one else does.
33. Believe in miracles.
34. Your job is to love your children, not choose who they should love.
35. Don't audit life. Show up and make the most of it now.
39. Get outside every day. Miracles are waiting everywhere.
40. If we all threw our troubles in a pile and saw everyone else's, we'd grab ours back.
41. Envy is a waste of time. You already have all you need.
42. The best is yet to come.
43. No matter how you feel, get up, dress up and show up.
45. Life isn't tied with a bow, but it's still a gift.
It seems to me that all of us are in such a hurry these days that we really don't have time to cogitate on life and what really matters to us and our loved ones. Sure it's tough to live and it's tough to compete and it's tough to go on when the odds are overwhelming. But people do it every day, miracles happen every day and very ordinary people do incredible, unbelievable things every day. We live in a country where the impossible is really absolutely possible.
Regina Brett has faced up to life as it is and finds beauty where others fail to even to see a glimmer of hope. Consequently, that's the significance of what she writes. She writes about hope and life and miracles and the love we share with each other. It's a matter of perspective and principle and it makes what Regina Brett shares in a simple way a thing of beauty.