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2013-02-07 digital edition

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2013-02-07 / Church

THEY SAID IT

(Life Lessons from Hospice Patients)

I Want to be Happy

Cora liked everything just-so. Her hair was always done. Her make-up was carefully chosen. Her outfits always matched.

Cora was lacking, however, in the contentment department. Typically her brows were knitted and her face looked, well, tight. She rarely, if ever, smiled.

Then one day that changed.

I walked into her facility’s dining hall at breakfast. She was yakking at the other ladies at her table, sporting a wide, contagious grin. They were staring at her, as if in shock.

Cora noticed me, beamed, and waved energetically. “Chaplain! Yoohoo!” she called.

Something possessed me at that point. I walked over and asked, “Who are you, and what have you done with Cora?”

Cora howled with laughter.

“Well, I decided something,” she said. “I want to be happy. It’s time for that.”

“Just like that?” I asked.

“Just like that!”

How Cora managed to flip that switch, I don’t know. She kept right on being happy. The ladies continued to be in shock. Her family refused to believe it. I even had a tough time. But that didn’t stop Cora.

Cora had decided to be happy.

Is that possible? Can a person actually choose to be happy, even when less than good things are happening? Can we choose contentment, even in a lousy situation?

Is happiness a choice?

For Cora it was.

“I want to be happy. It’s time for that.”

I have some choices to make. How about you?

Thanks, Cora.

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

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