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2011-11-24 digital edition

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2011-11-24 / Community News

THEY SAID IT

(Life Lessons from Hospice Patients)

You’re a Good Man

Sweet, smiling, simple, and honest. These words describe Shirley. In her thirties, she’s marked by that winsome, childlike disposition that often accompanies brain injuries. You know immediately how she’s doing because she’s simply incapable of hiding her emotions.

I teach a Bible Study in the nursing home where Shirley lives. When we’re done, I typically go around, look each person in the eye and dole out hugs. On this day, when I got to Shirley, she wrapped her arm around my waist and grabbed my belt. She raised her eyes to mine and asked, “You know what?”

“What, Shirley?” I asked.

She smiled and said, “You’re a good man.”

My, oh, my. I ran on that one for a week. The power of a positive, heart-felt word is incredible.

I want to be an encourager. We all need encouragement. It’s tough out there. We live in a pretty negative world full of suspicion, backbiting, maneuvering, and deception. Life is already tough enough. Why add to it by tearing each other down?

What if we made the decision to quit evaluating other people and become encouragers? What’s so difficult about deliberately speaking words that build other people up? Do we not know how to do this, or are we just out of practice?

If we can get the ball rolling, who knows? Look out. Encouragement just might be contagious!

“You know what? You’re a good man.” Thank you, Shirley. Now it’s my turn.

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

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