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Thursday, July 7, 2016

DIGNITY





I want to talk today a little bit about #dignity and how important it is to you and all others in your life. You see, you can have a successful life or a #mediocre life; it really doesn’t matter as long as you have your dignity. If your #success is based on abuse of power or the shameful use of others, you have lost your dignity. I’m not going to talk about those things though.

Let me get a little personal. My mother didn’t receive her first drivers’ license until she was in her forties. In those days automobiles were large machines. My mother was less than five feet tall. You can imagine what it looked like with her behind the wheel of a large Oldsmobile sedan. She was a cautious driver and followed all the rules. In time she began losing her depth perception and her vision became somewhat blurred. The family did not force her to give up her drivers’ license, rather, when it came time we simply let it expire. After my fathers death we let her live #independently. My sister lived across the street and did the shopping for her. Mother lived alone and was quite content watching her TV shows, preparing simple meals for her self and continuing her prayers. We let her live in dignity and she died surrounded by her family.

A few years ago we lived next door to a wonderful senior lady. I’ll call her Miss Louise. You could tell by talking to her that she had lived a proud life. Her daughter, whom I’ll call ‘Jen’, sacrificed a home life with her dedicated husband in order to care for her ailing mother. One day as we looked out of our window we saw Miss Louise cleaning ‘things’ out of the garage. We could see that she was #struggling so my wife went over to assist her. Jen was busy running errands or something at the time. Miss Louise said to my wife “Please don’t tell Jen that I’m doing this.” Indeed; Jen would read her the riot act if she knew. The sharp cutlery was kept away from Miss Louise not because she was suicidal, but to prevent accidents. Miss Louise enjoyed the shrubbery growing around her front porch that she and Jen sat on every night. One afternoon Miss Louise decided the shrubs needed trimming. Again, Jen had left. Having nothing else in the form of tools she proceeded to trim the bushes with a butter knife. You can imagine the outcome. Once again my wife assisted and Miss Louise was happy. My point is, even though Jen meant well in trying to control the activities of her mother, Miss Louise needed to preserve her dignity. She needed to do certain things herself. Even though she had help, she still maintained her dignity, right up until the day God finally accepted her into heaven.

I’ve had high blood pressure for decades. I hadn’t seen a doctor in over twelve years and of course, quit taking my medication. I’m a smoker. Last week I had a #hemorrhagic #stroke. Between the two major types of stroke, this is the worst. A vein ruptures and you #bleed into your brain. I was scared. I was scared enough to listen when the doctors told me I had to #quitsmoking. They started me on #nicotine patches. They told me to cut down on salt, quit eating certain ‘bad’ foods and don’t drive (at least temporarily.) I came home days ago. My wife won’t let me drive anywhere, not even the store three blocks away. I wanted to use a circular saw for some simple cutting, she said ‘no.’ I’m not complaining, I understand precaution. But my dignity is being taken from me. I can no longer do things that I’d like to, and am able to do. I know it’s early in the game. I know everything for now is temporary. I also know that I’ll #continuethefight and maintain my dignity.