Sunday, March 7th, 2021

R Shopper Columns


There are several lessons that come from
the blue light specials. One is the art of living
is learning to balance between two demanding poles.

It makes shopping at a department store more interesting when I hear they are having a blue light special. I know that while the light is on, they are reducing the price of some particular item. I also know that the light is on for a limited amount of time. If I want what they are reducing, I had better not wait but go and claim it.

Life is full of blue light specials. They are opportunities that come our way and are only there for a limited amount of time.

If we fail to claim those moments, they pass us by.

Sometimes, we miss the blue light specials because of what has been termed 'responsibility overload.' We fill our schedule with so many activities such as PTA, running the neighborhood children to soccer, and serving on church committees. The list goes on and on. Even when we say we can't do one more thing, we do.

Our community always needs us to volunteer and it is important to make a difference. Where would we be without volunteers? They make our community better. However, there is a down side when we volunteer so much that our lives become unbalanced.

There are several lessons that come from the blue light specials. One is the art of living is learning to balance between two demanding poles. We are called upon to balance ourselves between community and family; career and family; career and self; and self and our partner. Our relationship with our partner can suffer if our time and resources are heavily invested elsewhere and invested only a little in the relationship.

The second thing that we learn from the blue light special is that life is learning to choose the best among the good.

While there are a lot of good things that we could be doing, there is the best use of our time and resources.

It may be a good thing to work on a committee, but the best use of limited time may be spending it with a son, daughter or partner. The challenge is to choose the best without feeling guilty about all the good things we do not choose.

One of the best things I ever did was to spend quality time with each son every week. I would take one son to breakfast on the way to school and do something different with my other son. The great thing about this idea is the one-on-one time. It was our time together without talking about chores or discipline. We would just visit with each other.

It was an opportunity to find out what was going on in their lives. It really kept the communication door open all during their teenage years. For me that was a blue light special. I did not want the time to come when they left home wishing I had spent more time with them.

Dr. William E. Austin is a licensed psychotherapist and holds a Doctor of Divinity degree. He is a therapist with Tidewater Pastoral Counseling Services . He is well known for his warmth and sense of humor. His book, Creating Our Safe Place - Articles on Healthy Relationships, can be purchased through

Tidewater Pastoral Counseling: 623-2700