Life Lessons I Learned from Popeye

Life Lessons Learned from Popeye

My Mom used to tell the story of when I was around three and kept asking for a “Toot –Toot” for Christmas. It took my parents quite a while, but they finally figured out that I wanted a corncob pipe so that I could be just like my cartoon hero Popeye. Continue reading

A Wake Up Call

love heart

Late last night my phone rang.  My friend had come home and found her son dead.

Can you imagine?

I could hear the shock and grief in her voice and it triggered memories of other moments when I had heard those qualities in the voices of myself and people I love.

It was a wake up call for me in more than one way.  I was reminded that:

Everything can change in one moment – we will all experience lifequakes that will shake us to our core.  Our lives will be forever changed and often diminished in ways we could never have imagined.  This is part of our journey here on this earth.

What we can do is live so fully that when our world is shaken or someone leaves us forever we have no regrets.

When I was 22 the man I loved died suddenly in an accident.  I had been so busy protecting my heart that I never told him I loved him.  My fear kept me from saying the words until it was too late.  It took years before I was able to forgive myself and let the regret go. 

Live fully.  Love fully. Go for your dreams.  This is your precious life and every moment of it is a gift.

Be Grateful  – sometimes we don’t appreciate what we have until it is gone.  Well, maybe on some level we do, but we push back the awareness of it because we have other things on our minds.

When we focus on appreciation and gratitude our lives become richer and more meaningful. We experience things more deeply, recognize blessings when they come, and fill our hearts with love.

This can help us be more resilient when we suffer a loss.  There will be shock.  And, grief. But eventually the love and gratitude will bring balance and guide us through the process of learning to live again.

My heart goes out to my friend and all that she is experiencing right now.  I don’t know why she has been given this as part of her journey on this earth, but I trust that she will be okay.

I can’t save her from the pain or make it all better, but I can be grateful for the wake up call this has offered me and share it with you, hoping that it makes a difference in someone’s life.  Could that someone be you?

 

Lessons I’ve Learned from My Friend in Hospice

Sybil's Valentine Tree 2013

My friend, Sybil, has a disease called CBGD and has been living in a guest home for a few years.  Her disease has frozen her body and taken away her ability to communicate and care for herself.  And yet, she is still my friend.

Witnessing this part of her life has been an interesting experience for me.  For the most part, I have been surprised how much I enjoy visiting her and there have also been times when I feel like my heart is breaking.  She has modeled pure grace and I love that the last word she can speak clearly and often is the word, “yes”.  It speaks to who she really is and how she has lived her life.

Sybil’s journey is also a learning experience for me and I would like to share some of the lessons and reminders that have come my way because of it.

Live each day fully – we never know how much time we have or when things might suddenly change. This may be the best year of your life or the last time you get to do something you really enjoy.  Approach your days with awareness and appreciation because each one is truly a gift.

 Trying to understand “why” is a waste of time – sometimes things just don’t make sense.  Why is my friend who loved to travel and have compelling conversations sitting in a wheelchair unable to move or speak day after day after day?  What could God possibly have in mind?  I have learned to accept that it is not for me to know the answer to this question.

My life is truly blessed – it is so easy to get upset about little things like bad hair days, computers that don’t work, and other challenges that come along, but visiting Sybil puts my life in perspective very quickly and reminds me just how blessed I am.  I can move, take care of myself, talk, drive, read, and even swallow easily.  She reminds me to be grateful for all of these, and more.

Sometimes being loving is all you can do – most of the time, now that we can’t have conversations, I read to my friend.  But, it’s really about just showing up and being there.  I believe in the power of love and when that is all I can offer, I know that it will be enough.

(Thank you Sybil for saying yes to my sharing this story.)