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2012-03-15 digital edition

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2012-03-15 / Church

THEY SAID IT

(Life Lessons from Hospice Patients)

I Just Did What I Knew to Do

Maximillan was quite a guy. He grew up in the inner city, a harsh and unfriendly world. Rather than growing bitter, he developed a heart for people. He joined the armed forces at 18, and became a veteran of three wars. He served his country with distinction and valor.

His life of service continued when he retired from the Army. A well-respected businessman, he immersed himself in his community, working with at-risk youth. “The Old Soldier,” they affectionately called him.

“You’re an unusual guy, one-in-a-million, Max-a-million,” I would tell him. He’d smile, then laugh in a sort of “aw, shucks” sort of way. Like so many bullets, he managed to deflect any praise aimed at him.

One day I commented, “Max, you know you’re a hero, right? Do you have any idea what a difference you’ve made?”

He gazed into my eyes for a moment, then softly said, “I just did what I knew to do.”

He just did what he knew to do? Wow.

I walked away that day thinking, “What if I just did what I knew to do?” Keep my eyes open. Get out of my own head. See the people around me. Look for ways to love and serve. Lay down my life each day, moment by moment.

Because Max knew it wasn’t about him, he lived a life of incredible impact. “I just did what I knew to do.”

Let’s continue Max’s legacy, and just do what we know to do.

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

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