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2012-05-31 digital edition

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2012-05-31 / Church

THEY SAID IT

(Life Lessons from Hospice Patients)

What Else Would I Do?

Maggie was a delightful lady suffering from a very slow decline. She’d watched numerous friends and relatives pass away. She moved from her home in the country to an assisted living facility. She could no longer walk, and was grieving the loss of her independence.

Her mind was also beginning to deteriorate. She could carry on a conversation, but sometimes didn’t make sense. She smiled through it all, however, and always managed to keep things on a positive note.

“You’re such a good boy,” she said to me one day. “You always have been. I’ve known you all your life. You always do such a good job. I’m so proud of you,” she continued.

“Thank you, Maggie,” I responded. “You’re always so encouraging.”

“Well, honey,” she said, “What else would I do?”

Frankly, there are lots of other things Maggie could do. She could whine and grouse. She could criticize and belittle. She could be angry and bitter.

Maggie chose to encourage. She developed it into a habit. She became an encourager.

I walk away from some interactions and realize I was just going through the motions. Other times I feel empty, like nothing of real value happened. However, if I go in planning to encourage, it changes things.

What if we chose to encourage today? And tomorrow? And the day after that? Encouragement would become a habit. We would become encouragers.

Who knows what might happen then?

Thanks, Maggie.

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

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