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2013-04-18 digital edition

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2013-04-18 / Church

THEY SAID IT (Life Lessons from Hospice Patients)

My Life is Over

“My life as I knew it is over. It’s like it was some kind of dream,” Alfred said.

Alfred had severe coronary artery disease. He drove a truck all of his working life, sometimes up to 16 hours a day (back when that was legal). He had traveled all the major roads in 48 states. He was a virtual encyclopedia about what was where, especially places that served “awesome cheeseburgers.” On the Road Again was his favorite song.

Now Alfred sat all day in his recliner – on the days when he could get out of bed. He lived alone. What little family he had was six states away. He hung his head when he spoke. There was no light in his eyes.

Alfred’s life had shrunk. He couldn’t find anything to be thankful for. We tried to resolve some things from the past, but he just didn’t want to go there. When I mentioned Jesus, he would gaze at me with a faraway look, like I was speaking another language.

Life can be brutal. We wake up one day and find our dreams have died – maybe a long time ago. We settle for what currently is in our relationships and circumstances. Hope does a slow fade out of our lives.

It’s time to wake our hearts, put on a different set of lenses, and begin to invite hope back in. We do that by helping others find it. As we give hope away, we suddenly find it has invaded our own hearts once again.

Let’s be hope-givers today. Gary Roe is the Chaplain of Southern Care Hospice

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