I recently completed a book by a new author, Brendan Duffy, @Brendan_Duffy on Twitter. I found it a very remarkable book for his first published book. I hated to see the final chapter as I turned the page. This is not a book review blog post, but I do highly recommend buying his book. It’s a great novel – thriller, mystery, suspense.
The reason I am bothering to mention the book is because as I read and learned more about the two main characters in the story, Ben and Caroline, I saw so much of my own life in them. As each chapter revealed more of their personalities, their histories, their struggles with the weight of the past, and how they were striving to survive the day – I saw me.
There are two lines that captured me:
Better and Easier
Near the end of the book – “But Ben had made a promise to be better than he had been. Better and easier were almost never the same thing.”
Most the time in my life when I have tried to make things easier, I have failed to make things better. Shortcuts and attempts to take the easier road usually led to falling further behind and having to retrace my steps and then do it the right way.
Better doesn’t necessarily mean harder either. I believe better usually means staying the course and being faithful to the journey that you are on.
The other part of that quote from House of Echoes is making a promise to be better. Don’t take that lightly. We are designed, created, and purposed to be better. Never settle or believe the lie that you have arrived and reached your life’s destination.
Here’s the deal though – you can’t wait for things to get better around you before you choose to be better. You can’t wait for your circumstances to change before you start being better. It doesn’t work that way. It is better to do something imperfectly than to do nothing at all. When you begin the course to better, others around you will begin rising to better – but it begins with you.
What Can’t I Live Without?
Also near the end of the book – “A man doesn’t need everything. He just needs the things he can’t live without.”
That is such a GREAT quote. It caused me to hit the brakes, come to a screeching halt, and do an inventory check.
What things have I been hung up on? What things am I pursuing? What is on my wish list? What are my goals? What are my dreams?
Of all those things, what things are essential, and what are the things that I cannot live without?
It’s two-fold. I am in pursuit of being better. At the same time, are there items in my pursuit of a better life that are non-essential and I could ultimately live without if I had to?
I’m not talking about living a base life. I believe this quote is more about priorities. Keep those things you cannot live without at the forefront of your life.
All in all, it is a fantastic book and I look forward to Brendan Duff’s second book, The Storm King, which comes out in 2018.
(as a follow-up – While I don’t want to give anyone bad press, because I know it is someone’s life that was poured into writing this book – The Storm King wasn’t all I was hoping it would be. The similes were way over used and the story got a bit repetitive. I found myself only finishing the book because his first book was so great. There were still some incredible lines in the book, but it isn’t high on my recommendation list.)