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2012-12-13 digital edition

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2012-12-13 / Church

THEY SAID IT

(Life Lessons from Hospice Patients)

It Never Shuts Up!

Steve had worked on power lines all his life. He’d been all over the country, tending to one emergency after another. Hail, sleet, snow, or heat couldn’t keep Steve from climbing those poles and doing what needed to be done.

On my first visit, we were sitting in his living room, talking about his life and family. Suddenly from the back of the house came a highpitched, childlike voice.

“Maggie!”

Silence.

“Maggie, where are you?”

No answer.

“I see you, Maggie!”

I looked at Steve and cocked an eyebrow. He pursed his lips and shook his head.

“That #*@&#* bird!” he said. “It says the same thing over and over, all day long. It never shuts up! We tried to get rid of it, but nobody will take the *#$@%*# thing!”

I felt for Steve. I know how irritating certain voices can be, especially repetitive ones from the past that never seem to shut up:

“You’ll never be good enough.”

“You’ll never amount to anything.”

“You’re stupid.”

I call them mental tapes. They’re always playing.

I don’t know about you, but I need some new messages. How about these:

“You really matter to me.”

“I really value this-or-that about you.”

“I’m glad you’re in my life.” “I love you.”

We need these kinds of messages. Those around us need them too. We might not be able to silence the voices of the past, but we can give them some fierce competition.

I’m game. Are you?

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