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2012-07-05 digital edition

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2012-07-05 / Church

THEY SAID IT

(Life Lessons from Hospice Patients)

I Just Need to Adjust My Speed

Stephan was in his early sixties but looked much younger. He had the healthy look of a serious athlete. His legs were especially lean and muscular. Turned out he’d run 15 marathons.

Stephan had always been concerned about his health. He’d trained hard, eaten well, and taken his body seriously. He’d taken good care of himself. He didn’t smoke or drink. The liver cancer certainly wasn’t a result of his lifestyle.

When I walked into his hospital room, Stephan broke out in a broad smile. “Ah, you must be the chaplain,” he said. “I’ve been looking forward to meeting you.”

Visiting with Stephan was a delight. He was so positive. “Just a bump in the road,” he continued. “I know it’s bad, but it’s not going to stop me from living my purpose as best I can. I just need to adjust my speed.”

I have two speeds: full-speed-ahead and drop-down-dead. I haven’t had much practice relaxing. I wonder what life is like for Type-B, laid-back people.

I’m half-a-century now, and I choose to believe I’m just getting started. Like Stephan, I want my sense of purpose to grow stronger by the day. Up until my last breath, I want to be fulfilling my mission.

In order to do that, I’m going to need to adjust my speed along the way. Life is a marathon, not a sprint.

Let’s pace ourselves for the greater good today.

Thanks, Stephan.

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

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