2011-06-30 / Community News


(Life Lessons from Hospice Patients)

Myrtle had been confined to her bed for several years. The dementia was steadily progressing. She was very talkative, but could no longer follow a conversation or respond appropriately to questions.

But in the midst of her confusion, she could say some wonderful, powerful things. During one of my visits, she got a particularly thoughtful look on her face. A few seconds later she said, “I’ve made lots of mistakes in my life.” She glanced sideways at me and grinned. “I just can’t remember them anymore.”

I still laugh every time I think of that statement.

I’ve made a lot of mistakes in my life. I’ve entertained thoughts I should’ve sent packing. I’ve said things that I’d like to take back. I’ve done things that still make me wince when I think of them.

I don’t like failure. But I seem to be pretty good at it. I’ve about decided that it’s not how many mistakes I make or how bad they are, but how I respond to them that really matters. Someone once said to me, “Gary, it’s not what you did but what you do next that really counts.” Hopefully, I’m learning to “fail forward.”

“I’ve made a lot of mistakes in my life. . .I just can’t remember them anymore.”

What I’ve thought, said, and done is, well, done. Many of my mistakes are thankfully long forgotten. Hopefully, I’ve learned from them. I’m still learning.

Thanks Myrtle.

Gary Roe is the Chaplain of Southern Care Hospice and is interim Minister at First Baptist Church in Lexington

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