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This American female journalist (1913-1983) and author of the Neurotic Notebooks and columns in Cosmopolitan and Vogue really did say and write many good things. Here’s a smattering, with my commentary to follow:

“No one really listens to anyone else, and if you try it for a while you’ll see why.”

Listening has its strange rewards, but they’re never immediate. It requires faith to practice effective listening if we’re after reward. The clever do it because they know it’s the only way to interact harmoniously.

“A successful marriage requires falling in love many times, always with the same person.”

They say marriage is hard work… never, surely! But it is true. If we love it that he talks to us, or that she waits on our every word, why do we stop doing it? Continue courting. The magic starts with you and him or her. One can influence and encourage the other.

“If you made a list of reasons why any couple got married, and another list of the reasons for their divorce, you’d have a hell of a lot of overlapping.”

Marriages break up for the same reason the attraction began with. We stop trying. The antithesis is ‘never stop trying’ and our marriages will inevitably succeed and flourishing happiness can eventually be found or re-discovered.

“For the happiest life, days should be rigorously planned, nights left open to chance.”

Oh voila! Reminiscent of Ecclesiastes wisdom, this quote is about keeping life simple. Only the simple life, with space and room to move, can be happy. We must work hard, yes, but we must also choose to rest, re-create and spend quality time with loved ones–and also find some necessary alone time.

“It’s the most unhappy people who most fear change.”

Go figure. Most change caters inordinately for the unhappy complainant. In fact, this aids change if the change agent is patient enough. The ‘black hat’ is able to influence and cause tweaking departures from the original plan and a better result is achieved–not that the unhappy person would agree… nevertheless, they’ve played their reluctant part!

“Hope is the feeling we have that the feeling we have is not permanent.”

This is a witty truth about hope. We know we haven’t got it anymore when it’s suddenly gone, or as it’s rapidly disappearing from sight. Forlorn sadness envelopes our minds and hearts, and we seek something to restore it… our hope.

“If you are brave too often, people will come to expect it of you.”

This is quite a sad truth. When we enliven people’s expectations of us in our competence in any area, they then naturally begin to lean and rely on us. We can then only (eventually) let them down.

“Learning too soon our limitations, we never learn our powers.”

Negative thinking has a lot to answer for. It’s like standing invisibly on a certain beach in 1916, and looking to your left (landside) at the death and destruction of the Somme without ever looking right–out to the calming, rhythmic seas that never change. Some people never have the presence of mind to look right, and worse still, some simply choose not to.

“Likely as not, the child you can do the least with will do the most to make you proud.”

This is another ‘go figure’ statement that simply reminds us that God surprises us weirdly at times. We must be ‘surprisable.’

Copyright © 2009, S. J. Wickham.  All Rights Reserved Worldwide.

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