Make Up Your Own Rules

I have written my 7 Rules as a way of staying sane, given the challenges of my life – with Chris’s diagnosis of Parkinson’s disease six years ago; our kids growing up; and my full time writing work. All of which I love, but my life can be hard, and, at times, lonely.

My 7 Rules boost my happiness quotient. But you can write your own rules. Make them pithy, creative, reflective of you. Throw in one that is literary, one that is obscure, one that is spiritual and at least one that is cliché.

When I was at Taizé monastery last fall, I met Simeon, a piano tuner from The Netherlands. In our Bible Study, he said, “God’s rules for one person won’t work for another.” He was so right. He was such a spiritual, religious and compassionate person. His words reminded me why everyone should follow their own God-inspired rules.

I know that as Christians we have guidance for how to live when we try to live like Jesus did. I want to be as loving and justice-seeking as Jesus was. Yet, I believe Jesus made up his rules as he went along too. He was human. He turned over tables in the church. He listened to his own intuition/guidance/spirit/God. His rules were rooted in his own faith, family and personal history.

Completely random thought – Did Jesus ever lack confidence? Did he ever doubt his purpose the way I do? I guess it’s fine to doubt yourself so long as you do not live in that self-doubting place forever. That’s key — that if you are doubting or critical of yourself and your purpose, you cannot reside in that negative place for too long. You have to find humor in your predicament. Otherwise, you will never get anything done. Or let anyone in.

Getting things done and letting people in – these two human instincts are important to me. I like being productive and I like being communal. I’d like to add these two rules to my 7 Rules, but, well, I’ve already got 7 and I might as well stick with my 7. If I were to add 2 more, that would be 9. Nine Rules for Living? That’s a different blog.

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