Wednesday, July 18, 2007

by Jim Stovall

I am usually not in favour of heavy tomes that hurt my arms through sheer weight and the time involved in perusing the hundred-odd pages.
So it was with some delight that I picked up The Ultimate Gift recently. Honestly though, it was its brevity that attracted my attention.
Finally, I thought, something that won't tax my mind too much. I have a low threshold of books that are purposely written to be thought-provoking in a pedantic manner.
I am no stranger to Og Mandino books or those inspirational books by Norman Vincent Peel, and other writers who have written some of the wisest and shortest books on the market.
The Ultimate Gift is a marvellous read. It can be digested in one sitting. No need to rush through it. It calls for intermittent pauses to ponder its lessons. Nothing really too heavy, as I have said before.
Jim Stovall is a great story teller. I am thoroughly smitten by this book. The messages within are simple and unforgettable. I have from time to time in the passages of my life encountered similar tutorials but have forgotten most of these life's lessons in the rush towards fulfilling other human wishes and needs.
The Ultimate Gift revived all the lessons that I have been taught but have forgotten with the passage of time. Within its pages, lie some shiny nuggets of truth that come our way but like all mortals with an inclination to forget and ignore, we tend to lay our clammy hands on items that have no lasting value.
Stovall has put together a string of ideas that have long been immortalised elsewhere outside the library of life in one small book.
If I were to recommend a book to anyone this year, this could be it. It is a healthy read. It should be read by all of us who are constantly in a hurry to get rich. We are often too busy to smell the flowers, take a stroll or don't even have time for our own families.
The Ultimate Gift will act as a gentle reminder for us all to rethink life's priorities. We will be poorer by missing the points in this book. The best things in life are often the intangibles.
These are the experiences that do not have dollar signs on them. They are not legal tender from our perspective, and yet at the same time so beneficial that if we could practise the principles for the rest of our lives, we will be the happiest people on earth.
The treasury of life is often right in front of us but we are constantly too busy looking over other people's shoulders for that pot of gold that never was there in the first place.
The Ultimate Gift should be read not once but many times in our lives and at different times of our lives. It should serve as a regular reminder of the finer things in life. We need to be told again and again that happiness is never found in the number of zeroes in our bank accounts but in laughter, joy unexpected, love unconditional and perpectual kindness.
The joy in our hearts is worth a thousand pounds of solid gold, the smiles that we give are better than all the beautiful things around the house and the laughter that echoes through our daily lives is certainly more valuable than the accolades we readily receive whether or not we truly deserve them.
This then is the true message of The Ultimate Gift. It is to look at the really important things in life and not find out a little too late at the twilight years of our existence on earth.
Better to have experience all the things that give the greatest joy at an early age than to regret all that has passed despite being surrounded by some of the trappings that are coveted by the silly, ignorant and the miserable.
Read this book if you want to touch the helm of heaven and breath the fresh breeze of eternal joy.