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2013-01-17 digital edition

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2013-01-17 / Church

THEY SAID IT

(Life Lessons from Hospice Patients)

We Dance to the Music We’re Listening To

Matilda lived in a hundred and fifty year-old house on thirty acres. Though falling apart here and there, she desperately loved the old place. Her favorite thing to do was to show visitors what she called “The Family Wall of Fame” – a hallway lined with photos from eight generations.

Matilda proudly paraded me through the family gallery, pausing at various pictures with fascinating stories about Auntie or Grandpappy. As we got to the end of the hallway, she suddenly paused and hung her head. She stayed there silent for a long minute. Then she began to shake.

She was weeping.

I knelt down beside her scooter. “Matilda, are you okay?” I asked.

“I will be,” she answered. “I’m just having a tough time accepting reality. My kids have moved away. When I go, this place will go. They’re not interested.” She paused, looked at me, and smiled, “And that’s honestly okay.”

“You see, honey,” she continued. “We all dance to whatever music we’re listening to.”

Though I’ll admit I’ve never tried it, I imagine it’d be hard to polka to classic rock, or two-step to Beethoven. If we sway to the rhythm of the music around us, that brings up a thought-provoking question: What are we listening to?

Encouragement? Criticism? Gossip? Soul-lifting conversation? We have a choice what we tune in to. Our decision has more impact than we realize.

“Honey, we all dance to whatever music we’re listening to.”

Yes, Matilda, we do. Thanks for the reminder.

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

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