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2012-10-11 digital edition

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2012-10-11 / Church

THEY SAID IT

(Life Lessons from Hospice Patients)

He is Such a Fine Man

Ever been fooled by a first impression? Ever found out that what you heard about so-and-so was, well, less than accurate?

When I walked into Madeline’s room, her expression and demeanor said “Warning! Enter at your own risk!” I’d heard she was a gruff, in-your-face lady. I just smiled and started asking questions.

She was indeed feisty, almost rude, until I began asking about her husband. Suddenly, her guard came down. He had Alzheimer’s and was in a nursing home down the street.

“We’ve been married for 65 years,” she shared. “People say, ‘Alzheimer’s! I’ll bet that’s been hard for you.’ Phooey. Why would it be hard for me? I love him. He is such a fine man.”

She turned and gazed out the window. A tear trickled down her cheek. “He is such a fine man,” she repeated.

Madeline had opened a window into her heart. What I saw was not what I would have expected. Sadness. Longing. Commitment. Love.

How quick we are to judge based on appearances and what we have heard. Things are often not what they appear. Neither are people.

Don’t we hope others overlook some of our faults? Don’t we yearn for others to see and understand us? Don’t our relationships depend on such things?

What if we dared to first give these gifts to others? What if we deliberately chose to see the good in others (and then talk about that)?

Perhaps we would find some wonderful surprises (and friends) where we least expect them.

Thanks Madeline.

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

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