The Magazine of The Evangelical Lutheran Church in America


Lessons worth learning the hard way

Instead of year-end analyses and new-year resolutions, I prefer to share important lessons I have learned. Most came the hard way. That's the first lesson: The easy way rarely leads anywhere worth going.

Here are others as we begin a new year:

• Make your bed and wash the dishes. Take pride in doing the basics well.

• If you make a mess, clean it up.

• Trust your gut.

• Seek justice, not revenge.

• Tell the truth, even when it's inconvenient.

• If the cashier gives you too much change, give back what isn't yours.

• Embrace your uniqueness, don't rush to conform.

• Be as beautiful, handsome, successful and skilled as you can be, and don't listen when others set standards and boundaries that only serve them.

• Listen first, speak second.

• Don't tell anyone to "shut up," especially a child.

• Love your partner and be as loyal, steadfast, patient and generous as you can be. Trust your partner to fill in the missing pieces.

• Don't let someone pay you less than you are worth. Don't demand more than you are worth.

• Enjoy work.

• Don't go along with the crowd.

• Not every argument is worth having. Look up facts, and be kind toward opinions.

• Being right counts for little. Getting your way counts for little. Being generous counts for everything.

• Dream unceasingly. What you see in front of you is never all that can be.

• Change isn't your enemy. People who resist change to protect their privileges are the enemy.

• Light and darkness are always at war. Your life is what they fight over.

• When a preacher tells you what you want to hear, stop listening.

• Politicians and cowards aren't to be trusted.

• Eat simply, live simply, love extravagantly.

• Soldiers fight wars that politicians declare. Respect and support the troops, and then choose better leaders.

• When teachers and bankers earn what they truly contribute to society, it will be a better world.

• A healthy society protects the vulnerable. A corrupt society allows dark forces to prey on the vulnerable. We live in the latter, and it's time to fix it.

• Praying to God is wise. Scripting God's response is foolish.

• When people quote Scripture and the Constitution in pursuit of power, your freedom is at risk.

• People want jobs, not handouts. People want respect, not pity. People want freedom, not comfort.

• Owning a black robe doesn't confer wisdom on a judge or a preacher; just look at the Supreme Court.

• If someone criticizes you for voicing an opinion they don't like, voice it again. And again. The sky won't fall on either of you.

• The greatest rock 'n' roll songs of all time are those that made your heart sing.

• Always be reinventing the wheel. Always pursue change for the sake of change.

• Be curious about what lies around the next corner.

• Read stories to children. Then buy them books. 


Doris Featherston

Doris Featherston

Posted at 1:21 pm (U.S. Eastern) 1/17/2012

I agreed with so many of these - it was a delight to read and I'll have to share with others.  Thanks to the writer.

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February issue


Embracing diversity