Some Things to Avoid (Unless Noted, the Dos are Implied)

Don’t do what signs tell you not to.

Don’t underestimate the power the look of something might have on others.

Don’t tell someone you have every intention of making that phone call when in fact you intend to postpone making that phone call as long as possible.

Don’t forget how to run from one room to the next without knocking into doorframes.

Don’t forget to leave a light on for the dog when you leave, especially when it’ll be dark before you return.

Don’t hold onto any memory you don’t think you’ll later find reason to use.

Don’t light matches near open gas lines.

Don’t light matches then toss the lit matches onto dry grass or spilled gasoline.

Don’t play with the fire you spent all that time building in the fire pit.

If you do play with the fire you spent all that time building, don’t do it without a jug of water handy.

Don’t wait. Don’t wait. Don’t wait. Don’t wait. Don’t wait.

Don’t allow yourself to become so easily disappointed.

Don’t discuss plans for a trip your partner would die to take while harboring serious doubts about your ability to fund said trip (unless you’re willing to watch the light go out of your partner’s eyes when you admit you had doubts the second the words, “We ought to do that. Take the trip,” came out of your mouth).

Don’t hope for anything other than what could happen.

Don’t worry too much if you should happen to let slip a little hopefulness; odds are, a little slip—and we’re talking here about the kind of slip that occurs when you find yourself pulling open the mailbox hoping the mailman has been on time today for once—won’t kill you.

Don’t bet on hope not killing you at least a little bit, but also don’t let fear keep you from getting a good grip on a situation that might turn out the way you want it to.

Don’t shoot a rifle at a car tire; in fact don’t aim a weapon of any kind at anything you couldn’t stand putting a serious hole through.

Don’t forget to forgive.

Don’t leave anyone out of your prayers.

Don’t misplace your keys.

Don’t begin to theorize the significance of anything until you’ve seen all there is to see.

Don’t judge. Period.

When you do judge, don’t linger over judgments, and don’t linger over the guilt you feel for having judged even though you knew you shouldn’t have.

Don’t pray for people to stop feeling a certain way; pray for every single person you pray for to find courage, and even one tiny little piece of a reason to believe.





11 Comments Add yours

  1. Joseph Kane says:

    I love this. Obviously, the implications are different, but it reminds me of “Girl.” If only from a structural standpoint. Well done, man.

    1. I want to do one about writing. A list of don’ts. I find, though the prevailing wisdom suggests otherwise, that I get more of a creative spark from looking at what not to do, what to avoid. I’m glad it works. It’s maybe a bit too insular; I was hoping to invite additions and revision. Updating the post to include a written invitation might help.

  2. SilverFox says:

    Are some of these Don’ts from bitter experience?

    1. Some — though I must admit the only time I ever fired a weapon (and we’re talking just a single, solitary shot) I wasn’t aiming at a car tire. That was someone else. But I will say the caveat to that particular don’t comes from my experience.

      Any don’ts you’d like to add? I’d be glad to have your input.

      1. SilverFox says:

        Don’t spend the whole day in the Hawaiian sun without a top on when you have white english skin.
        Don’t treat others in a way you wouldn’t want to be treated yourself.
        Don’t leave it too long.

      2. Absolutely spot-on. Thanks a lot for the additions. And I would strongly recommend aloe for the sunburn. The stuff does wonders.

  3. Miriam says:

    Can I add one?
    Don’t stop writing these wonderful posts, Patrick.
    You do have a way of making us think, thank you.

    1. I love it, Miriam. I mentioned to a friend of mine, fellow blogger Joe Kane, how I planned to try and do another list of writing don’ts that was open to other bloggers to add to. Yours would go tip of the list of don’ts, for sure! 🙂

      And I would also say they same to you about not quitting blogging. Your travelogue brings to life a part of the world I may never see, and it has been a real trip getting to follow you around Australia.

      1. Miriam says:

        Aw, thanks so much for your kind words Patrick, it’s so nice to have you along as a reader. Keep reading and sharing. 🙂

  4. Dwordslayer says:

    I like this …a lot.. felt at the end..pray for me 🙂
    Thinking out loud.

  5. Thanks, Donna-Luisa. I held onto this post a long time, not sure whether it would resonate. I published it finally because I needed to remind myself that prayer is about being grateful and about pushing for others to find their best. I’m truly touched to know this resonated with you, too.

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