The Noticer


by Jo Rae Johnson

From a distance you may think that Jones is a homeless man, alone with no family, and only a small suitcase of belongings. Move closer and Jones would tell you he’s a man with a wealth of places to stay, friends who love him like family, and possessions meant to be shared. Jones would say you might need to change your perspective.

Andy Andrews introduces us to Jones in his latest book, The Noticer. Andy is living under a pier and has no job, vehicle or family. Surprisingly, Jones doesn’t offer Andy quick solutions to his circumstances. He helps him find something far more valuable—hope. Andy’s first assignment is an unusual one, read three biographies. Jones explains to Andy, “Other people’s experience is the best teacher. By reading about the lives of great people, you can unlock the secrets to what made them great.”

Andy is the first of many people Jones will touch. A couple filing for divorce is taught the dialects of love. A depressed, divorced man learns “that a person could lose everything, chasing nothing.” A group of teenagers are taught to read life “leaves” to gain the vision necessary to pick a life partner. Jones meets a plethora of people at every age and circumstance in need of a change of attitude.

Willow, an older, widowed woman who believes her life is over will learn through Jones “the most important part of your life has not yet been lived.” A young, entrepreneur who sees dollar signs in lieu of people is instructed, “Life is like a game of Monopoly. You may own hotels on Boardwalk or you may be renting on Baltic Avenue. But in the end, it all goes back in the box.”

Have you ever met someone like Jones? Are you a Jones to others? This book opens the door to such questions and many others. How important are the circumstances in your life or is your perspective your greatest obstacle?

I once saw a toddler discover his hand. He moved his palm close to his face, eyes wide, and mouth open, intent on his flexing fingers. As I watched him, I felt envious of his ability to find delight in something I rarely notice. This book reminded me of that child and encourages me to look for new perspectives on everyday situations.

Remember the song, “Be careful little eyes what you see?” Today, with the doom and gloom of the news media, I find myself needing vision correction in order to keep a positive focus. While reading this book, I realized Jones had a message for me too. “Whatever you focus upon, increases.” I’m putting on my rose colored glasses; it’s going to be a beautiful day and good things are coming my way!

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