2011-12-15 / General Stories


(Life Lessons from Hospice Patients)

I’ve Got Way Too Much Unfinished Business.

Clark had a difficult past. Alcohol and drug addiction made an early entrance into his life. His relationships had been difficult and strained. His story was laced throughout with trauma.

Now, in his late forties, he was in a nursing home dying of HIV. When I met Clark, he was cruising through the dining hall in his motorized wheelchair. I was shocked at how incredibly thin he was.

When the conversation turned to God, he looked down and shook his head. “I don’t know. I just don’t know,” he said.

He stared at his lap for a moment. Sighing, he continued, “I’m just not ready to go yet. I’ve got way too much unfinished business.”

Unfinished business. Past pain that still remains. Regrets we can’t seem to shake. Broken relationships never mended.

A few weeks ago I did a personal inventory of my life. I thought back over my half-century, and made a list: people I needed to forgive, people I needed to ask forgiveness of, and how to possibly make amends to those I had hurt. I followed through as best I could. It was difficult, humbling, and healing.

In fact, I’m still working on it. And I’m collecting more business along the way. Hurts are going to happen. I must keep at it. Forgive. Ask forgiveness. Make amends.

“I’ve got way too much unfinished business.” Hard, courageous work is necessary. Let’s get at it.

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

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