Altar Call Ė Opelika-Auburn News
Walter Albritton
October 21, 2001

Twelve absolutely wonderful choices you are free to make

"Terrorism again?" my wife asked when she started reading my column in last Sundayís paper. "Canít you think of anything else to write about?" she went on, then concluded by saying, "You do better with the funny stuff; you should leave the serious stuff to the philosophers."

So, guess what? I am taking her advice. No more terrorist talk Ė until those rascals do something else that bugs me.

As for the funny stuff, I decided to share my latest list of 12 great choices. Twelve because of the 12 tribes, the 12 disciples, and the 12 months of the year. Yeah, I know that is two more than the 10 commandments, but Moses had his instructions to stop at 10. Not having divine orders, I decided to stop at 12.

I have had a list for years but I keep trying to improve it. I figure if a farm girl in Iowa can grow a 900 pound pumpkin, the least I can do is to keep improving my list. So here is my latest effort to merge some helpful humor with 12 wise and wonderful choices:

  1. Feel free to stop kicking yourself and start liking yourself. Some of us have low self-esteem and we feed it by criticizing ourselves. But any day you wish you can stop doing that and start enjoying yourself. You do that by simply choosing to feel good about yourself and by refusing to join the chorus of those who do not like you.
  2. Stop criticizing everybody you see and start enjoying other people. Quit finding fault with others; look for something positive to focus on. Say you meet an ugly guy whose face would stop a clock, but he has an Auburn cap on. Tell him you like the cap. Simply clamp down on your amazing capacity to find something wrong with everybody you meet.
  3. Quit being so restrained and respectable and embrace some enthusiasm. The world has enough "proper" people. What the world needs is more people who will dare to live outside the box by shouting "War Eagle" or "Glory" or "Hallelujah" when everybody else is handcuffed by respectability. Lord, folks, letís cut loose and enjoy life now and then!
  4. Accept the fact that you are going to die and begin living everyday with positive expectation about the future. Oops! My wife will accuse me of getting serious again, so please go on to number 5 and pray that she will miss this one.
  5. Keep on learning and growing until you gasp your last breath. The worst people to be around are those who know everything. So if you want others to like you, shut up telling all you know sometimes and listen; you may learn something. And growth is what makes life an exciting adventure! And remember what Socrates should have said if he didnít: "You canít learn a whole lot while you are talking."
  6. Tell disappointment and despair to get out and stay out of your life. Trouble finds us all. We all face "down" times. But you have a choice. You can tell these two "dís" to go back to hell; thatís where this stuff comes from in the first place.
  7. Hold things loosely in your hand and treasure your relationships. Use things; love people. And do not get too attached to material things; they are not the source of lasting joy and peace. As long as your hand is grasping anything, you are not free to receive an even greater gift that someone may want to give you.
  8. Stop worrying because you cannot solve a single problem by worrying. Worrying grinds holes in your life, allowing peace to slip out and stress to come in. Worrying put me in the hospital with a bleeding ulcer. When I came home my friend June gave me a fruit jar with these words taped on the side: "Walterís Worry Jar." She said, when you start worrying, write yourself a note about the matter and put it in the jar. Then every Thursday at 2 p.m., get all the notes out and worry about each one for 30 seconds, then throw your notes away. Good idea!
  9. Start laughing seven times a day because a sense of humor improves your health. Find several things to laugh about every day. If nothing else works, look in the mirror the minute you get up every morning. Then admit to yourself that God had a good laugh the day he made you. If that does not make you laugh, then call me and I will tell you something funny that my wife told me (that I canít print in the paper). But you will have to promise not to tell her that I told you.
  10. Try very hard to be more understanding of the mistakes of others. This is very important unless you are perfect and never make mistakes. If thatís the case, you can skip this one. But just for kicks, ask your wife if you are as perfect as you think you are.
  11. Give up pessimism cold turkey and never again underestimate the value of optimism. I would have a great church if I could persuade all my pessimists to join the Baptist Church. Imagine what great things we could all do if we became optimistic about ourselves and others. Oh, the joy of walking and working with optimists!
  12. Listen to the Balcony People, not the Basement People, in your life and get in the Balcony of the people you care about. Cheer leaders are so important to a football team Ė and to life itself. Negative, basement people pull us down by discouraging us. Balcony people cheer us on to do our best. We should aim to be in the balcony of our children, grandchildren, and colleagues, so that they will feel we are their cheer leaders!
  13. Choose wisely! Remember your choices determine your destiny and your delight!