I went to see a friend’s father in the hospital today. He had been given the news that further surgery would not improve his quality of life, and if they did surgery, it could make him worse.
And so he had made his own decision and told his daughter and the doctor with a clear resolute voice, “No more surgery. Nothing. Just make me comfortable. I’ll be ok.”
When I walked in the room and reminded him of my name, he added, “Oh yes, I remember you, Malcolm, from when I was here last time,” he said as he reached out his hand with a firm handshake, some thirty years my senior. He had a remarkable clear mind with sparkling eyes, and a quick wit that made you want to hang around just to see what he would say next.
As we talked, I was struck by his positive attitude. “I’ve had a great life,” he said. “I loved my work for so many years, and I can’t believe I’ve been retired for over 25 years now. Wow, it goes by fast.”
I asked him for advice, he paused, and then shook his head as if he did not know what to say.
I knew his wife had died just a few years before and so I asked him about her. “We were married for 67 years,” he added with a smile. “We had so many good times together, oh my goodness, what a great lady. Of course we had stuff to work through like everybody. Who doesn’t? A great lady,” he said as his voice trailed off.
“We had lots of friends, most of them are gone now,” he continued. “But what does one expect, none of us live forever,” he said with a matter of fact tone.
We talked for almost thirty minutes. When I left I know that I was the one who felt better. What was it that made his life so remarkable, so clear and at peace knowing his months are numbered?
Gratitude. So much gratitude. He described one reason after another to be thankful. No regrets, all thankfulness. He was thankful to God for his life, and now he had no fear. “I’m at peace with God, it’s ok, it really is,” he said in a way that made me believe him.
He talked about his daughter, and the grandchildren he had seen grow up into responsible adults. “What more could a man want in his life?” he asked honestly.
I want to be more grateful in my life. Gratefulness is an important key to living simply. Living gratefully helps us to find our way out of the trap of always wanting more.
Will you join me?
What are you grateful for right now? Would you share in the comments below?
And by the way, thank you for reading here.