Wednesday, January 11, 2012

Charlie’s Law ~ a Gift from a Departed Friend

This thou perceiv’st, which makes thy love more strong
To love that well which thou must leave ere long.
                                  ~William Shakespeare, Sonnet 73

I knew that I had to be at the memorial service for Murray Fintel. I cancelled a planned day trip in order to be there.  I had heard he had been sick just a few weeks prior to seeing the announcement in the obituaries. He was a few years older than I, but we were both of the generation that came into adulthood during the 1970s.

As we gathered there at the Unitarian Universalist Church of Birmingham last October, we heard friends and family tell about a man who, though he died too young, did not waste a single minute of life. The minister shared beautiful memories that had been written by Murray's wife, Marion, and is daughter, Elaine. He loved nature, and he loved to laugh. He loved hiking and he loved cooking good food. Most of all he loved his family and friends – and they all knew it. He was generous to everyone around him.  

Murray’s brother-in-law, Ed Begley, Jr., was there to share some words of remembrance.  He offered a reading of Charlie’s Law, which I was not familiar with. “You've heard of Murphy’s Law,” Mr. Begley commented, “Well, this is Charlie’s Law. It takes a brighter view of life, and this is what Murray believed.” Charlie’s Law affirms that everything will turn out alright.

That night, I did not sleep well. This funeral had hit too close to home.  It reminded me that there are no guarantees.  Murray’s life stood like a beacon to remind us how precious our time here is. If we are truly living and truly grateful for this existence, we will follow Murray’s lead and not waste a minute of life.

During the memorial service, I was impressed with the reading of Charlie's Law. In the following days, the more I thought about it, the more I wanted to find a copy of it. A search of the internet did not produce the text, but I found out that it was from a book by Charles Ware, Murphy’s Law Repealed: everything turns out alright … when you let it. Unfortunately the book is no longer in print, but I was able find it and order it online. Reading through that book was for me a reminder to be open to life, to love those I am blessed to be with, and to relax and trust the Universe. If we let go of our emotional attachment to expected outcomes, we can be open to what life has in store. Here are some of the concepts that Ware presents to elucidate Charlie’s Law (Everything turns out alright when you let it):

§  If you need something, it will come to you
§  When faced with a difficult task, start
§  Just when you think you’ve run out of time, you’re done
§  If at first you do not succeed, relax and you will
§  You are the person you’d like to become
§  Everything you do that comes from love, works
§  When life seems overwhelming, do less
§  If you reach the end of your rope, let go and fly
§  When you choose peace, you get peace
§  Live each day as if it were your first
§  When you let go, you feel joy
So here’s to Murray Fintel:  he lived well; he laughed well; he loved well.  May we all follow his lead to make our love more strong: “to love that well which [we] must leave ere long.”



  1. Thank you Charles for sharing something I so needed to hear.

  2. A great reminder for me Charlie, I always appreciate your reflections. Peace be with you.

  3. I've never heard of that book but it sounds like one I'd enjoy.
    Good job.

  4. Charles,

    I didn'r know Murray very well. Once he asked me if I played poker. I said I enoyed it when I was young but did't play much now. I feel I follow Charlie's law a wife says I don't worry about a damn thing.


  5. FYI, I got my copy of Murphy's Law Repealed, LOVE it! Thanks for sharing!


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