Take A Deep Breath (My thoughts on Andy Andrews’ The Noticer)
I received a review copy of the book back in January and was asked to give some feedback before it went to press. After I read it Mike asked me what I thought. Before I could begin my critique, he said, “Better yet, let me ask you this question: Can you think of five people, right now, that you would want to give this book to?” Without one second of hesitation I said, “Absolutely.” That’s all he needed to hear.
I have indeed given the book to five people. Well, I can actually think of twelve people I’ve already given the book to—before it was even released. (There are some perks to being married to the CEO of the publishing company.) The first person I gave this book to was my friend Phil (not his real name). When Mike and I met Phil we immediately liked him. But we could tell that he had just come through some pretty rough waters. We came to find out that Phil had recently gone through a heartbreaking and painful divorce and to top it off also found himself in the midst of a failed business. We met him as a 52 years old man, lonely, unemployed and totally defeated, someone who had no hope for anything better in his future. He was lost and paralyzed about what to do next.
One morning I emailed him the following excerpt from The Noticer:
Take a deep breath. … People who can breathe … they are alive.
If you’re breathing, you are still alive. If you are alive, then you are still here, physically on this planet. If you are still here, then you have not completed what you were put on the earth to do. If you have not completed what you were put on earth to do . . . that means your very purpose has not yet been fulfilled. If your purpose has not yet been fulfilled, then the most important part of your life has not yet been lived. And if the most important part of your life has not yet been lived . . . if the most important part of your life is ahead of you, then, even during the worst times, one can be assured that there is more laughter ahead, more success to be look forward to, more children to teach and help, more friends to touch and influence.
There is proof of hope . . . for more.
~ Andy Andrews (The Noticer pg 83-85)
I followed up by sending him a copy of the book. Several days later I began to get emails from him.
The first email came in response to my question, “Are you liking The Noticer?” His response to me was, I love it! ‘Taking it to the games tomorrow to share with my friends there. … I’m smiling.
A couple of days later he wrote:
I am really just starting to believe… It is a matter of my perspective. I have had a wrong perspective for so long and I am excited about my future. Right now… Things are financially about as low as they can go; but everything else is so much better! Thanks to you and Michael for your gift of kindness. And really, I just don’t know how to say it, but I am feeling better. I have a long way to go… But I am looking forward to my journey like never before. I hope this is not temporary or fleeting thing.
When I saw him later that week, it was obvious that a deep, inner transformation was taking place. His circumstances hadn’t changed but his perspective of them was definitely changing and I could see it right on his face! The eyes don’t lie.
A few days later he jotted off this quick note to me: I just realized I am suffering from self-pity. That’s great! I was able to recognize it for what it is and that made me smile and feel better! This perspective stuff works!
And last night this little nugget showed up in my inbox: ‘Middle of pg 133 just hit me right between the eyes. Thanks for being God’s delivery vehicle!
Upon finishing the book Phil shared these words: One thing I did know before reading The Noticer is that I needed help with the subject of perspective. So with my mechanical pencil in hand, I picked up the book and started my own conversation with Jones [the main character in the story]—God, incarnate for me. I needed to see my life from a different point of view. God’s point of view.” Phil is gaining a heart of wisdom. (Psalm 90:12)
Phil is really like you and me. “All people—all lives—are either in a crisis, coming out of a crisis, or headed for a crisis.” (The Noticer pg 31, 83). What we need, to make it through a crisis, is hope and perspective. Phil said to me, last night, “No matter how bad the choices and decisions (note I did not say mistakes) I have made in my life thus far, the good news is that it is from here that the best part of my life is designed to start.” That is a different perspective. That is hope.
This book will, make a difference in your life. I’m convinced of it. And it will make a difference in the lives of your friends. After you read it, ask yourself the question: Can I think of five people, right now, whom I’d like to give the book to?” I guarantee you will come up with at least five names. You’ll want to pass it on, to someone like Phil—like you and me.
For those of us in the midst of a relationship crisis, financial crisis, health crisis, or any kind of crisis, who need to begin rebuilding our lives, remember these words from Andy, “Rebuild with a grateful heart. You may have lost a house, but you did not lose your home. Remember, you are still breathing . . .” (The Noticer pg 95).