Life Lessons Book Excerpt

Have you ever wondered if you are making the right decisions with your life? Well, this book can help guide you or a loved one in the right direction if you feel like you have lost your way. It is a just published anthology of 34 stories from a variety of authors sharing experiences that happened to them and concluding with what each author learned as a result. Each touching story begins with a quote, shares the experience, and then concludes with a moral. This collection of stories is especially geared towards younger people who may need some guidance about how to successfully navigate their lives. However, people of all ages would find this book of interest because of the variety of wonderful stories and moral guidance shared. Some stories are happy while others are quite sad. In all cases, these mature writers share lessons from their own experiences to help others successfully navigate through the ups and downs of life.

To give you an even better idea of what the book is about, here is one of its lessons:

Life Lesson: An Obsession with Money Can Make You Miserable

By Geoff Cooper

For the love of money is the root of all evil. — 1 Timothy 6:10

It was like a lament. A slow, sad tune, played over and over again on wailing Scottish bagpipes.  A haunting refrain. It was repeated over and over to whoever would listen. Not many chose to listen voluntarily. “I’m a prisoner in my own home,” my Aunt Bessie would say, with a despairing wail.  “I’m a prisoner in my own home,” she would repeat.  And, ultimately, it was true.

Aunt Bessie had said this to Jack, her former gardener, until he got sick of hearing it and wasn’t ever coming again. She said it to the doctor who smiled gently at her, knowing there was nothing he or medical science could do, as he prescribed more pills.

“I’m a prisoner in my own home,” she had said to her niece before they quarreled about the car her niece was driving. It had been made in Japan which she didn’t approve of. “Aren’t good cars made in England?” she had demanded. There were no more chances to say, “I’m a prisoner in my own home,” to her niece because her niece stopped visiting her after that.

When I visited her in her old, cold cottage, where no improvements were even considered, Aunt Bessie always complained, “Things are so expensive these days,” or she would whine, “I’m not saving as much as I used to.” At each visit, she wore the same brown dress or her grey one. Never a different pair of shoes. “These are comfortable and will last,” she would say.  They did last, even when her feet were no longer able to walk in them. Someone called the place where she lived, ‘Cold Comfort Farm.’ And there was cold comfort there. I often asked her, “Why don’t you do something for yourself?” “There isn’t enough. I must save,” she would reply.

Because my aunt had lots of money, a bank representative came to visit her to advise her how to invest her money better. “I’m a prisoner in my own home,” she complained to the employee when he arrived. He looked around at the chipped and faded paintwork, the primitive kitchen, the torn cushions on her uncomfortable chairs and the gloomy heavy curtains, ripped to shreds by her cats. He knew why there was plenty of money in the bank. She was a miser, he thought, but he didn’t say that. She was a good customer because she put money in the bank and withdrew little.

“She’s a miser,” the bank employee told his manager when he returned from the visit. Her bank manager knew her accountant and told him the story of the old woman, who had lots of money, was crippled, and unable to get out of her house but who kept on saving money. The accountant asked, have you been told, “‘I’m a prisoner in my own home?” Their eyes met in recognition over their whisky glasses. The accountant recognized the story of my Aunt Bessie, the crone who paid her accountancy bill promptly every year. He knew it was just about the only bill she paid because she never bought anything. He had heard, “I’m a prisoner in my own home,” twice a year for longer than he cared to remember when he visited there to do her accounts.

There had been a time, after her husband died, that her solicitor had said, “You could afford a Rolls Royce, if you wanted.”  She had only asked him if she could afford a new car. This was before she started saying, “I’m a prisoner in my own home,” long before rheumatoid arthritis began to claim ownership of her body.  She hadn’t known who else to ask about buying a new car. She couldn’t ask the new gardener.  She couldn’t ask the vicar who came to visit her from time to time. He would have wanted them to pray about it and she didn’t feel comfortable praying about things like that. She only prayed that her shares paid dividends and didn’t sustain any losses.

She would have like to have asked her children about whether she should buy a new car but she had none. She and her husband had tried hard. They’d seen doctors, had hospital investigations, but there was never a pregnancy. They had tried to adopt her brother-in-law’s daughter but that didn’t work out either.

Her new gardener, named Joe, had told her about the Mediterranean cruise he and his wife were saving up for. ‘Waste of money’, she thought. Silly waste of money when they could be buying shares in the company that has made her car, or in that petrol company she had shares in, or in that lovely clothing company that had made the dress she had bought years ago that she still wore.

Now Bessie was trapped. Plenty of money in the bank. She really could afford a Rolls Royce. That would have been good if she could still drive. She could afford – no, not a silly little seven-day Mediterranean cruise – but a world cruise. She would have enjoyed a world cruise. There were interesting things in the world to see. She saw them on the news on the old black-and-white television set she had that still worked well. No need to change that.

In time, moving about in her home became exceedingly difficult. But she did have a choice to make now. She hated the pills she was supposed to take. They made her feel worse, she was sure. Plus, there was no drink on the tray in front of her. So, really, there was no choice at all. She couldn’t take pills without a drink to wash them down. She would have to tell the home help later when she came to put her to bed. The home help would have to be told off. The home help was careless and negligent. She couldn’t understand how anyone could be careless and negligent. She had never been careless and negligent in her life and look at her now. She just couldn’t take the pills, just as she couldn’t drive a new Rolls Royce or go on a cruise around the world. Nor could she – nor would she – withdraw money from the bank once it had gone in. How poor I am, she thought. No children, no friends, no visitors, not even that praying vicar. A prisoner in my own home. All I have is money.

Life Lesson: Money is nice, as long as there is enough to go around. It is good to be able to earn money. Money can help individuals to experience exciting events. But money cannot buy good health. Money does not buy life-long friendships or positive relationships. The only value money has is in what it can do for you and your loved ones.


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