Two weeks ago a delicious little package arrived in the mail: The Noticer by Andy Andrews (Thomas Nelson, Inc). Within hours, I tore open the paper, flipped back the cover and started a five-day feast. After I’d devoured every last page and poignantly penned word, I closed the cover, sat back and breathed a deep, contented sigh. I’d just been infused with simple yet sweet profundity, leaving behind a satisfied heart and a belly full of hope.

A total of 156 pages, The Noticer is an easy and quick read. Short enough for non-readers, yet rich enough for the most well-honed appetites. Don’t let its small size fool you. Contained within it’s pages hides a wealth of life-changing truth only the most hardened of hearts will be able to resist.

Jones, a man whose age, history, and heritage remain conspicuously unidentified throughout it’s entirety, enters a community with his trademark suitcase and begins a work of transformation one person at a time. A homeless, orphaned boy sees the potential in his yet unlived life. A marriage in the throes of divorce rediscovers love. A ruthless business man catches a vision of the wreckage he’ll cause without a significant change in business practices. An elderly woman regains her vigor and sense of purpose in the twilight years of life.

One face and one story at a time, Jones helps real people see the reality they’ve missed. Because, as Jones would say, “Sometimes, all a person needs is a little perspective.”

I must admit: Somewhere in those 156 pages, Jones visited me as well. I heard him speak plainly about the shackles of fear holding me back. I watched him open my eyes to the goodness of the people closest to me. He pointed out the folly of my good intentions without the action and change required to make it a reality. And above all the other gentle counsels, I heard him say this:

Rebuild with a grateful heart. You may have lost a house, but you did not lose your home. Remember, you are still breathing … (pg. 95, The Noticer)

Yes, I’m still breathing. Funny, but I’d forgotten. Somewhere in the pain of a few pivotal circumstances, hope dwindled to a whisper. I even wonder if I’ve resorted to sitting in the ruins of a former “house” rather than rebuilding with a thankful heart for what might still be. Jones, whoever he is, pointed out the obvious. I’m still breathing. Life is not over. The house may have fallen, but the home–the place of my security and value–still stands. Unshakable.

It doesn’t matter your age, history, or heritage, if you’re reading this, you’re still breathing. If a man named Jones could change an entire community, then so can you.

All it takes is a little perspective.

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