Greetings one and all!
After a delightful week of traveling in the southern part of Colorado, I am thankful to be sitting at my desk in familiar surroundings. Although I loved my adventures in Durango and Pueblo, there is no place like home. So, pour a cup of coffee or hot tea. Curl up in your favorite chair. It’s time to take a break and chat about life! Last week I met some lovely people who enriched my appreciation of life and the transient nature of the journey. When presenting a program on the challenges and opportunities afforded by change and the subsequent transition, a married couple in the audience shared some hard-earned wisdom. They commented that realizing everything in life is temporary allows them to confront the ups and downs of life more easily. The good times are temporary. And the bad times are temporary. Everything is temporary. This realization transformed their lives…and mine as well.
It’s important to understand the setting in which I encountered this lovely couple. I presented the program to individuals and families affected by Parkinson’s disease. Since Parkinson’s disease is a progressive disease, life is a continuous process of change and transition for those persons with Parkinson’s disease and their family members. Therefore, being able and willing to adapt to the consequences of incessant change is critically important. However, most people exhibit an immunity to change—a resistance to change—that only serves to delay the process of change. Whether we like it or not, change happens. The question then becomes whether we choose to reject or to integrate change into our lives. The couple I met at this gathering embodied the blessings of graciously embracing change. They exuded a sense of peace, gratitude, and joy despite the current and future challenges posed by Parkinson’s disease. Eager to learn more, I ate lunch with them and listened intently to their story.
The couple immigrated to the United States in 1960. Being born and raised in Guatemala, the couple shared a life philosophy predicated on the cultural norms of that country. The gentleman, who was diagnosed with Parkinson’s disease 13 years ago, expressed his view of life in this way. Basically, nothing is guaranteed in life. Hence, he wastes little time and energy worrying about tomorrow. Instead, he focuses on the moment. Fully present to NOW, he participates in yoga, Tai Chi, and exercise classes, all of which enhance the quality of his life. His wife, who is his primary caregiver, echoed the importance of the present moment and realistic expectations. The moment she realized that everything in life is temporary transformed her life in numerous ways. Knowing that the good times won’t last forever enhances her gratitude for the goodness of life. She rejoices in their daily blessings. Recognizing that the bad times will come and go provides the needed hope to endure the tough times. She said it is her firm belief that everything is temporary allows her to enjoy and love life despite the challenges of Parkinson’s disease.
As they spoke, I was captivated by the gentleness of their spirits, the radiance of their smiles, their quiet courage, and their overwhelming gratitude for life. I was also incredibly thankful for the opportunity to meet these people. Their window on the world expanded my view of life, refreshed my spirit, and renewed my passion for life. Granted, the moment was fleeting. But perhaps the temporary nature of my encounter makes the experience more profoundly important and sacred—just like all the other aspects of life. Everything IS temporary. A comforting, motivating, and inspiring philosophy of life.
I look forward to the ongoing conversation. If you have specific questions or concerns related to your caregiving experience, I would love to hear from you. Until the next posting, I wish you and yours countless blessings…jane
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