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2012-11-29 digital edition

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2012-11-29 / Church

THEY SAID IT

(Life Lessons from Hospice Patients)

I Don’t Want to be a Coward

Charles sat in the dining hall and chewed his turkey in a methodical, disinterested sort of way. He glanced up at me and sighed. I knew he felt weary and frustrated.

Charles had been so active. He had owned a business with a small army of employees. When the economy took a downturn, his business took a major hit. He lost almost everything. When his wife contracted cancer and passed within a few months, Charles’ health gave way.

Now here he was in the dining hall of a nursing home, just going through the motions.

Charles suddenly bowed his head and dropped his fork. He began to weep. I reached over and laid a hand on his arm.

He looked up at me with a pained expression and said, “I’m scared.”

“What is it that frightens you?” I asked.

“I just don’t want to be a coward,” he whispered.

This life can be so tough. Obstacles mount daily. Responsibilities grow. Pressures increase. The world seems more dangerous, more uncertain than ever.

These days demand great courage. More than ever, our communities and our families need us to step up and be brave.

Is it possible to live courageously even if we’re not feeling brave? Absolutely. Courage is a choice. If we choose it often enough, it becomes a habit.

It took a while, but Charles chose to once again live courageously. He became an inspiration to the nursing home residents and staff. And to me.

Choose to be brave today.

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