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2013-01-10 digital edition

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2013-01-10 / Church

THEY SAID IT

(Life Lessons from Hospice Patients)

I Didn’t Know How to Correct It

Donald was a bachelor. He had worked in disaster relief and travelled all over the world. His tiny apartment was full of pictures and memorabilia from over 20 different countries. Now he was battling cancer.

One day I asked Donald why he chose to remain single.

“I didn’t want to,” he whispered, dropping his eyes. “I really didn’t.”

Donald had been deeply in love in his early twenties. “She had me, heart and soul,” he said. “And then I blew it.”

Donald couldn’t bring himself to share what he’d done. One thing was certain - he never got over it.

“Did she know how badly you felt?” I asked.

“I don’t know,” he answered. “I didn’t know how to correct it, so I never talked to her again,” he said, breaking down into tears.

We’re usually not very good at dealing with the hurt that accompanies mistakes and misunderstandings. Our reflex is to run, withdraw, or simply try and move on.

Mrs. McShan was my junior high math teacher. After every test or quiz, we redid the problems we missed until we got them right. “Get used to this,” she said. “You’ll be doing it the rest of your life, and not just in math.”

We won’t always get a redo, but we can try to make amends. It’s hard, but the results can be so good.

“I didn’t know how to correct it.”

Often we don’t either, but trying is a step in the right direction.

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

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