Wednesday, March 29, 2006

Not a good enough reason.....

....for me to complain, that is. I'm not much a of lamenting person by nature. I take things in stride for the most part and stay pretty even keeled. I would not at all consider myself a complainer. However, like most, I have my moments.

A week ago I volunteered my time along with several other people to an elderly gentleman. Mr. G. was diagnosed just after Christmas with brain cancer. He has gone under brain surgery and is now undergoing a very aggressive course of radiation. Five days a week for seven weeks....I will be going on Tuesdays.

Today was my first day. Me, along with a girlfriend, did a ride along with the family just to get an idea of what would be involved. On arriving at the clinic we signed in and sat down. While sitting there I gazed around the room in complete disbelief. Every SINGLE person that was waiting for their name to be called was impressively pleasant. The woman across the way smiled and lifted her hand to wave at me, the gentleman opposite her tipped his head and flashed me a broad smile showing his beautiful white teeth and a woman, not much older than I am, was leaving the room and held the door open for ME. I wanted to go and hug every last one of them and assure them that every thing would be just fine. Now, I know that is not at all a reasonable thing to do and perhaps in their cases not an accurate statement.

Then there was a man, that was clearly a grandfather, he came in with who I imagine was his daughter. His first visit. The front desk woman greeted his warmly and spoke to him briefly, then handed him a clipboard with all the necessary paperwork. My heart just sank watching them both take their seats and begin writing.

Mr. G. was called back. He requested that we accompany him to the radiation area. So, we take the walk down the hall that is marked with all the appropriate signs and warning about radiation being in use. Then we went into this very large, dimly lit room with a HUGE machine with lights and gauges. It was too much, I had to leave the room and wait in the hall.

While standing there alone for a moment, I suddenly felt ashamed of myself ever having a lamenting thought. For ever complaining about anything. For that very brief time I was actually standing very near the lives of these people that have every reason to complain and yet they ALL smiled a greeted me with incredible kindness. They are a fighting a horrific fight and are doing it with grace and courage.

I pray I will remember these faces that I see so clearly now, the next time I feel I have a reason to feel sorry for myself.

“Anyone can give up, it's the easiest thing in the world to do. But to hold it together when everyone else would understand if you fell apart, that's true strength."



Blogger Aisha said...

This made me cry... wow. Sometimes at law school which is usually when I feel the most stressed I will be walking compltely absorbed in my own thoughts of all there is to do and the elevator will open and a child with cerebral palsy will smile and say excuse me as he pushes his wheelchair by me... or a blink lady with her dog will ask me to confirm the amount of $ she's holding... and I am just overwhelmed by a mixture of both gratitude at the good in my life and the pure shame that I'm not grateful enough when others with less can hold their heads up, smile, and live their lives with dignity....

Thanks for another reminder. Much needed.

7:25 PM  
Blogger Renee said...

Your story gave me goosebumps, and confirmed what I try to remind myself daily; to count my blessings and to be grateful for all that I have. I so admire these people who face unthinkable illnesses with courage and strength.

7:54 PM  
Blogger Marel Lecone said...

That was beautiful. I always want to kick myself for complaining. I hate that occasional-but-not-so-occasional characteristic of myself. Thanks for the reminder to count our blessings.

9:11 PM  
Blogger Fantastagirl said...

I have a green frog that I see every morning, it helps me remember how much I have to be grateful for - because the little boy that painted it - is now an angel watching over me... it's amazing how cancer can destroy lives, but it really builds up families and friends.

9:35 PM  
Blogger Melissa said...

Your wonderful for volunteering your time. It's weird to be that close to some thing physically. It touches you on the inside as well.

10:34 PM  
Blogger Rebecca said...

My friends and I used to joke a lot about the annoying things our kids were doing, and how little time we had for this or that, until someone close to us found out she would probably never get to have kids. If that doesn't shut you up, nothing will.

We just found out on Monday that after three years of horrific procedures and a lot of tears and prayer, she's pregnant! We don't know how many yet, but you can bet she'll be hyper-grateful for every last one. After all she's been through, we almost don't want to touch her for nine months-- we're all so nervous! Keep her in your prayers.

11:16 PM  
Blogger Cathy said...

What an amazing thing for you to do; this is the kind of thing that we should all be doing; good for you and what a wonderful post!

Take Care.

4:08 AM  
Blogger Gwen said...

You are such an inspiration! Thanks for the reminder.

5:37 AM  
Anonymous mom said...

Vic, this does not surprise me that you would sign up for such an assignment. As a child, if there were 4 kids and only 3 lolly pops you would be the one to step aside and give yours away. This makes me proud, to know your dad and I raised a GREAT kid. Love you sooooo much. mom

5:55 AM  
Blogger cubmommy said...

Wow! That is humbling. I will think twice now when something really bothers me and realize that there are people out there dealing with way more serious stuff.

6:11 AM  
Blogger Jen Black said...

How wonderful that your blog is so nice that your mom can read it. My mom would pee her pants at most of the stuff I say.
What an inspiring story.....I think it would have been a great story to tell in front of a church congregation (sp.?).

6:11 AM  
Blogger Tammy said...

Wow. There is a special place in heaven reserved for those kind people. And for you.

8:12 AM  
Blogger Lala's world said...

ya kind of put everything in perspective doesn't it?!

9:07 AM  
Blogger truckdriver_sefl said...

GREAT GREAT post!! It puts a whole new light on life in general. GREAT JOB!!!

9:44 AM  
Blogger Christie said...

You brought me to tears. Thoughts of Mr. G swarm my mind and I am ever so reminded of my own father who died from cancer. It seems that the trails we face brings perspective to our lives. We truly do have many blessings to be thankful for.

11:04 AM  
Blogger Suz said...

What an inspirational post!

Its wonderful of you to be volunteering for something like this.

I will keep this man in my Thoughts & Prayers.

Hugs Suz

11:49 AM  
Blogger Laney said...

My sister in law died almost five years ago of a very aggressive form of breast cancer. She left behind two little girls, then 3 and 5. I have never looked at my time here more differently then I did when she was dying. Life is short and the best we can do is to love one another. Love one another genuinely and without bounds.

1:49 PM  
Blogger vani said...

i love the post and the quote at the end too- very inspirational. thanks for the reminder to not take anything for granted, specially life.

6:36 PM  
Blogger Jenn said...

I really need to volunteer for something like this. I need to keep life in perspective. You've encouraged me that next time I see this kind of opportunity, I'll try to see how I can volunteer.

7:43 PM  
Anonymous angie said...

Wow, great post. Thanks for the reminder...

5:19 AM  
Blogger sarahgrace said...

Thanks for sharing that. It is wisdom to take to heart.

10:03 PM  

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