on a mission to embody grace and compassion in all relationships

Grateful — Day 27

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.


  1. Kathryn Callaway

    Many times a week I am reminded how few people on the planet enjoy a hot shower EVERY day. I am so grateful for mine. I’m also grateful for my friends, my dog, and my ability to appreciate creativity – in myself and others.

  2. Malcolm

    Kathryn, until you’ve gone without a hot shower for a long period of time, we forget what a wonderful gift it is. Thanks for sharing what you are grateful for. Peace to you.

  3. Kathy Gaddis

    What a great post. I am so grateful for my sweet sweet husband and my son who loves my guts. Life is good. It is going so terribly fast Thanks for prompting me to SLOWWWDOWWWWN and appreciate it.

  4. Malcolm

    Kathy, I love your comments on here like “and my son who loves my guts.” It doesn’t get ANY better than that. Soak all of it in through every pour of your body.

  5. Nancy Reynolds

    For my two daughters, a home, the grace and mercy of God that has carried me through many painful times, and for meeting my soulmate

  6. Sherri Shepherd

    I spent yesterday with my precious parents. We had a meeting with three personal caregivers they have selected and an INS. CO. rep who was evaluating them for in-home care. Mom is fragile, physically and mentally. Dad has been her primary caregiver, with some assistance from me for the last year or so as she has declined. They live in a house they built 30 years ago on land owned by the family since 1860. They’ve asked me to preserve it for future generations, and that is an honor. I will do my best. My parents are my inspiration. Their faith is strong and they have lived their lives in service to others. I am thankful for every second I get to spend with them.

  7. Malcolm

    What a beautifull tribute to your parents Sherri. You have touched me with the way you are honoring and loving your parents. Thanks for sharing.

  8. Malcolm

    Thank you Nancy for saying your grateful words. So beautiful and heart felt.

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