My love for the short and to-the-point adage comes from my grandmother, who died 42 years ago on this week. Known to favor sayings such as “The graveyard is full of folks who thought the world couldn’t get along without them,” Grandmother Brown had a big influence on my life as well as my love for words.
Late in 2019, a series of pithy proverbs — those bursts of truth in 20 words or so — debuted on the blog and were brought together in a post entitled More to Consider.* Four years later I’m still at it. Let’s look at I love the pithy proverb — Volume 7 to see what made it to the More to Consider segment over the past six months.
Remember what’s really important
The horrific and life-threatening injury to pro-football player Damar Hamlin last week pointed to the many problems plaguing today’s NFL, not the least of which is that the NFL apparently wanted to restart the game after a five-minute break but was stopped by players acting in solidarity.
No game is a must-win. World War II was a must-win.Marv Levy
Look to the past to understand the present and build a better future
Besides a fondness for words, Grandmother nurtured my love of history and reading. She would have agreed with David McCullough — the esteemed historian who died in August — on why history is important.
A sense of history is an antidote to self-pity and self-importance.David McCullough
Not all readers are leaders but all leaders are readers.Harry S Truman
Of course, not every story in our memory — especially those we tell on ourselves — is historic. Or even true!
Some of those stories might be true, but most of them probably aren’t. I get better every year. That’s the one good part about getting old.Football legend Otto Graham
Do what you say and love what you do
Many people — obscure and famous alike — have commented on the importance of a meaningful vocation in our lives.
What one does is what counts, not what one had the intention of doing.Pablo Picasso
It is the lucky person who gets up in the morning, puts both feet on the floor, knows what they are about to do, and thinks it still matters.Joseph R. Biden, Sr., father to President Joe Biden
A vocation is a conversation between our physical bodies, our work, our intellects and imaginations.David Whyte
Our human task is to acknowledge the fullness of things
The fullness of life is something that philosophers, theologians, and queens (apparently) think about all the time.
The edge of things is a liminal space—a holy place or, as the Celts called it, “a thin place.” Most of us have to be taught how to live there.Richard Rohr
We are all visitors to this time, this place. We are just passing through. Our purpose here is to observe, to learn, to grow, to love… and then we return home.An Aboriginal proverb quoted by Queen Elizabeth II in 2011
Life is about discovering the right questions more than having the right answers.Richard Rohr
When someone shows you who they are, believe them the first time.
Maya Angelou famously suggested that people will show us who they are, if we only pay attention. In today’s world we have seen too many on the political right who are showing us again-and-again that they simply don’t want to try and understand the truth, whether it be because of power, money, fear, or the convenience of a crutch.
There is none so blind as those who will not see.John Heywood
It is difficult to get a man to understand something, when his salary depends on his not understanding it.Upton Sinclair
Nothing is more desirable than to be released from an affliction, but nothing is more frightening than to be divested of a crutch.James Baldwin
[Humanity’s] capacity for justice makes democracy possible; but [humanity’s] inclination to injustice makes democracy necessary.Reinhold Niebuhr
There is a better way. The late Senator Paul Wellstone lived his life showing us of his belief in the power of democracy to support the common good.
We all do better when we all do better.Paul Wellstone
An attitude of gratitude
Grandmother believed in saying thank you, as it helped instill an attitude of gratitude, understanding that we all depend on others. And as a Bible-believing Baptist, she certainly quoted Jesus of Nazareth just about every day.
For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also.Jesus of Nazareth
Gratitude is not only the greatest of the virtues, but the parent of all others.Cicero
I’ll leave you with my personal pithy proverb, which is life rule #1:
Be grateful. Be thankful. Be compassionate. Every day.
More to come…
*To capture some of my favorite sayings I created a feature on More to Come that I labeled “More to Consider.” I update these quick bursts of truth every couple of weeks. After the initial More to Consider post pulling together the first group highlighted, I brought out Volume 2: A plethora of pithy proverbs followed with Volume 3: A profusion of pithy proverbs and Volume 4: A plentitude of pithy proverbs. I finally turned to the Super Bowl system (minus the pretentious Roman numerals) with I love the pithy proverb — Volume 5 and Volume 6.
Image of drinking glasses from Pixabay.