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2012-12-06 digital edition

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2012-12-06 / Church

THEY SAID IT

(Life Lessons from Hospice Patients)

That Nurse’s Wings

Dolly was a hoot. She was wiry and energetic, with a personality to match. Her shock-white hair was nearly always sticking straight up, like she’d just stuck a wet finger in an electric socket. Her laugh was highly contagious. And my, she was sweet. During one visit, our nurse walked out into the hall with the family. Dolly watched her go, grinned, and said, “Well, look at that! That nurse can hardly get through the door because of her wings!”

Even when she was teasing, her words were carefully chosen to encourage the listener. “You don’t have to do that!” “Why, thank you.” “You’re so kind to me.” “I’m so blessed to know you.”

Appreciative. That’s the first word that comes to mind when I think of Dolly.

Appreciative. Now that’s different. A nice change from what’s become common in our ever-complaining, I’m-entitled-to-everything world. We deserve this-or-that. So-and-so owes us such-and-such. I-wanttherefore I-should-get-and-you-better-give-it-to-me. Ugh.

It’s easy to fall prey to such thinking. It panders to our pride. It sounds easy. Ironically, entitlement makes things infinitely harder. Dolly couldn’t even begin to conceive of the-world-owes-it-to-me thinking. “You’ve got to be kidding!” would have been her response.

If Dolly is any indication, being appreciative can be loads of fun. Imagine looking at life through Dolly’s I’m-so-blessed-no-matter-what lens. What color life could have! What leaps our relationships might make! What impact we would have! Evil shudders when confronted with such powerful joy.

Appreciative. Sign us up, Dolly!

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