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2011-12-08 digital edition

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2011-12-08 / Church

THEY SAID IT

(Life Lessons from Hospice Patients)

None of Us Can Do This By Ourselves

Judith always greeted me with a smile, so pleasant and engaging. She’d been widowed at an early age and had lived most of her life alone. Her words and life exuded a rare kind of wisdom.

Going into the nursing home was terrifically difficult. She’d been a strong, independent lady all her life. “At first, I was just plain mad,” she said. “Over time, being here broke me.”

She paused and pursed her lips. “But I needed to be broken. I’d become so independent that I was alone. None of us can do this by ourselves.”

She turned and looked out the window. “Wish I’d recognized that sooner,” she said.

Pretty doggone early the Bible says, “It’s not good for man to be alone.” Jesus boiled all the Old Testament commands down to “Love the Lord your God. . .Love your neighbor as yourself.” Life is about relationships.

Yet many times I make the choice to be alone, even in a room full of people. I might choose to live in my head, presenting an acceptable front to those around me. Then I walk away wondering why I feel empty.

I don’t know about you, but I have to challenge myself to share what’s going on in my heart and head. I must reach out, look, listen, and observe. Many of those around me may be feeling to same way. We need each other. We all long to connect.

“None of us can do this by ourselves.” Right you are, Judith. Right you are.

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

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