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Life Is Worth Living

In the early 1950s, we lived in a small duplex at 20217 Moross Road on the east side of Detroit—me, Mom, my two older brothers, and our new stepfather, Bill. My beloved mother had finally succeeded in getting her family back together under one roof.  And on that roof was a glorious TV antenna that did its best to bring in reception depending on how the winds blew. We were the fortunate owners of a small black-and-white Admiral television set, the first in our neighborhood. Of course, my twelve-year-old self was entranced with this amazing new machine.

Even in those early days, TV programmers were already vying for audiences, and on Tuesday nights at 8:00, most of the country tuned in to watch comedian Milton Berle. Not our family, however. My stepfather insisted that we watch Life Is Worth Living with Bishop Fulton Sheen, formerly the host of The Catholic Hour on night-time radio.  My friends might all be sharing jokes from “Uncle Miltie” the next day, but I became a devoted fan of Bishop Sheen. I watched Life Is Worth Living intently and even took notes!

Bishop Sheen had a pleasant speaking style, made plenty of humorous remarks, and presented a positive view of life that I deeply admired. Life Is Worth Living—the name of his show said it all. Years later when I began to meet with producer Niki Vettel about creating fund-raising shows for public television, I told her about my early TV viewing. I remembered how I sat transfixed listening attentively to Bishop Sheen speak directly to me about the power of my own mind to create the kind of life I wanted for myself.

I so loved that Tuesday night show—it was a well-constructed, entertaining, and informative lecture that held the attention of viewers in their homes back when television was in its infancy. Sharing this memory with Niki, I was confident that I could do likewise and make it work for all concerned—and that I’d have celestial assistance as well! I recalled Milton Berle’s comment when he discovered that the popular bishop had earned an Emmy Award, while Berle had been overlooked that year. Berle quipped, “He’s got better writers—Matthew, Mark, Luke, and John.” I wondered if I could enlist these same writers in my presentations as well!

As my 10th special for PBS, based on my new book, I Can See Clearly Now, begins to air next month, I am still thinking about Bishop Sheen. His title, Life Is Worth Living, has turned out to be the theme of my life’s work. In fact, it could have been the title for all of my books! That early encounter with Tuesday night TV inspired something in me that has been unfolding in my life ever since. That’s something I can see clearly now and I hope my sharing these experiences in my book and in the new PBS special will be as much a gift in your life!


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Joanna Jane De Jong, Canada says:

I was broken but then I had a quantum moment . Similar to you in your book, I knew instantaneously what I needed to do and I left all my worldly possessions behind and am happier than I have ever felt in my life. Your words….I let GO and let GOD !!!

Please know that you have touched me in a profound way. I Thank You. Love Me

MARY says:

I lost my mom 2 years ago at age 90. 12 months later her best friend & roommate in the nursing home got sick. She was like family and we referred to her as Grandma Joan. She told my sister that mom made a place for her & was waiting for her. On the very anniversary of my mother’s passing, Joan passed away. So beautiful!

Mary Ann Burrows says:

Hi Wayne, I was wondering if you could write about how you came up with the idea for I can see clearly now.

Cindy says:

Excitement for me is helping students, I recently feel as though this is just really difficult to keep in perspective, I hope your talk can help me in my eternal journey. I am an assistant principal, for 11 years, in a high poverty school, I just hope my excitement and love for this journey can continue.

Catherine says:

Dear Wayne, 20 yrs ago I found ‘Erroneous Zones’ at my mums holiday home. I loved it and lived it. Since then I have enjoyed your other work.Today I am experiencing the kind of peace I once only dreamed about. I have learned from many and your work has been one of the most influencial. Thank you for following your heart and giving so much to so many.

bob says:

Jesus brought awakening for all; His Love is more than enough. Churches offer their best yet they also are awakening. People of true faith willingly offered self for the good of others; their actions via His words showed His Love of all. Suggest reflecting on what’s been give to you by Him and offer thanks and acknowledgement to HIM!

Diane says:

I watched your PBS special on Fri. Then last night I watched Cosmos *Neil Tyson. I suffer from depression and was feeling good after hearing the PBS program, then it seems that nothing matters , we are all doomed and we really have no reason to be on earth. I’m really confused & depressed now more than ever.

Margaret says:

Hi, I watched your shows on WNED TV station and you sounded wonderful but how can wonderful words change my life or others life? You’ve been gifted with a meaningful life but we’re not all. Sincerely, Margaret.

caroline says:

I see by comments above your mother has passed, I’m very sorry to hear this. I accidently found the PBS channel and you speaking, of course I listened and this was not an accident. loved what you said, believed it to be. looked as if a light was shining from within you.Thank you for your shining light of hope and wisdom.

Mary says:

My mother told me when I was a baby (in the 50s) if I was fussy she would sit me in front of the TV to watch Bishop Sheen and I would stop crying and watch him, mesmerized. She said it was like magic. Nothing could soothe me like he could. I don’t even remember it, but perhaps he gave me a good start in life!

ami says:

Thank you Wayne for sharing your gifts. You are one of the light workers of God and I am so pleased to hear you speak. You inspire and remind us to be the best us, and above all to love us.

Don says:

Sorry to hear you have recently lost your mother, My mother past away last year as well. I wrote a song for her, or more clearly from her. It is called “she said to me” I think you would love this song. Check it out on my Myspace page https://myspace.com/donpardy/music/songs Much love, and thank you!
Don Pardy, Canada

Dennis says:

Your father was your greatest teacher, but you also have said your mother then re-married an abusive drinker like him. You revere her, but I have wondered if your neck pain masks unaddressed issues about that and her orphanage decision. Not intending offense here, but only something to consider.