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2013-02-14 digital edition

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2013-02-14 / Church

THEY SAID IT

(Life Lessons from Hospice Patients)

It’ll Eat Your Mind, Dude!

Larry was diagnosed with MS in his early thirties. He adapted courageously for more than twenty years, but now he was declining quickly. His life presently consisted of sitting in his apartment in a recliner, dependent on others to move even the pillows under his arms and behind his head.

Yet, he still managed a smile every time I walked in.

“Hey buddy! I knew it was you. I recognized your ring (the doorbell),” he’d say, with a mischievous grin.

During one visit, I wasn’t all there. I was distracted by something that happened earlier in the day. I looked up at one point, and Larry was gazing hard at my face.

“Gary, you’ve got that worried look. Something troubling you?” he asked.

With a sigh, I said, “I’m sorry, Larry. As a matter of fact, yes.”

“Worry is bad stuff,” he said, shaking his head. “It’ll eat your mind, dude.” Then he promptly changed the subject.

Larry was right. Worry is terrible stuff. It preys on our fears. It fills our mental spaces with “what if.” It dupes us into expending vast amounts of energy trying to keep something bad from happening. It gobbles up our life.

And we miss out on what, and who, is right in front of us.

I don’t want to miss out on anyone or anything else. I’ve missed enough already.

“Worry is bad stuff. It’ll eat your mind, dude.”

I’m kicking worry to the curb. Care to join me?

Thanks, Larry.

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

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