Sunday, November 14, 2010

BookLook Review "It's Good to be Alive"

“It’s Good to be Alive”
Inspirational speakers are inspiring. On the other hand and there’s always another hand, you have to fight traffic, shift your schedule around their appearance date, and sit too long on an uncomfortable chair to listen to their message. It’s much better to read their book then watch their YouTube clip (this author has more than 500,000 hits)!

Jack Rushton had everything. At age 50 his six children and happy marriage filled his days with joy and he enjoyed his church education job. He was living the good life in southern California until his head struck a rock while body surfing with his family and ended up a quadriplegic 21 years ago. His new book “It’s Good to be Alive, Observation from a Wheelchair” is good inspirational reading.

Rushton’s self-depreciating humor is revealed in this quote: “All my life I wanted to be able to do one thing better than anybody else and was very unsuccessful. Then I had my accident, and I thought, you, maybe I can be the best quadriplegic on a respirator that ever lived. And then wouldn’t you know it, Christopher Reeve goes out and breaks his neck and I’m in competition with Superman.”

Although Rushton didn’t have the publicity Christopher Reeve generated, he became a popular inspirational speaker and writer. His humor and wisdom despite a tragic accident and his current difficult circumstances inspires readers to face their adversity with courage too.

With chapter titles like “If Rushton can do it, anyone can do it” it’s hard to choose a favorite. But one of mine is the concluding chapter written by his wife and full-time care giver Jo Anne. Her life also changed instantly that day at the beach. Reading how she initially felt completely overwhelmed comforts others beginning the care giving journey. When she writes, “I never would have predicted early in Jack’s injury that we would be so happy today and find life so pleasant and fulfilling,” we believe her. Her sense of humor shines through as she mentions one of the benefits of having a husband confined to a wheelchair is that he doesn’t mind going shopping with her since he always has somewhere to sit!

Jack Rushton’s optimism is contagious. If he can find joy in his journey and believe it’s good to be alive we can too. Our challenges pale in comparison but his advice applies to whatever is diminishing that attitude of gratitude for each of us.

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