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2012-03-08 digital edition

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2012-03-08 / Church

THEY SAID IT

(Life Lessons from Hospice Patients)

I Don’t Rent for Free

Alexander was always a pleasure to visit with. He didn’t have much formal education, but his vocabulary was outstanding. I nicknamed him Oxford, after the dictionary.

His body was failing rapidly. “Betraying me, it is,” he used to say. “Trapped in this old thing, I am.”

One day we were talking about attitude. “It’s key to a successful life,” he said. “It doesn’t matter what happens to you. It matters what you do with it, up here,” he mused, tapping his right temple.

Then he got real quiet for several minutes. “I used to let everything get the best of me,” he continued. “Then I realized I was renting out space in my mind for free.” He raised his head and looked me square in the eye. “And I don’t rent to anyone for free. Not this,” he said, tapping that right temple again.

Things happen, and it’s not all good. Will I simply react, and let it get the best of me? Will I allow it to rent out space in my mind for free, so that it ends up controlling my thoughts and emotions? Not a good idea.

I’ve had some stuff happen to me. Other stuff has happened around me. Alex is right. It’s what I do with it up here (I’m tapping my right temple. . .) that matters.

Is anything renting out space in your mind for free? Start charging. The tenants you don’t want just might leave.

“I don’t rent for free.” I don’t want to either, Alex. Thanks.

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

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