Sunday, April 6, 2008

What if people were more important than work?

Yesterday we visited a friend in the hospital. He is trying to stay ahead of the cancer that is eating his spine.

He doesn’t have any family handy and only a few friends, as he hasn’t lived here long. He’s a pretty interesting guy and a great talker, so we pulled up a couple chairs and just listened.

It was one of his ‘good days’, so he talked about his younger years and the lessons he learned – it was important for us to hear his stories. And I sensed it was important for him to share them. I feel like we know him much better now.

He’s dwelling in his past, but also contemplating his future. He talked about what he wants to do when he gets out of the hospital…how he dreams of lightening his load: selling his home and all the ‘stuff’ he’s collected, then moving to Newfoundland so he can sit on his girlfriend’s deck looking over the water. He’d like to row a dinghy on the pond and perhaps cast his fishing line down into the clear depths. He wants to relax in the warmth of her family and fill up on good Newfoundland home-cooking. “I love cod,” he says. He’s thinking about the things he's missed...the things he never took time for before…

His comments made me glad I was there to hear them. Value lessons come at the most unexpected moments. You see, I almost missed this one.

Earlier that morning, when my husband announced he was going to the hospital to visit, I was rather glad to have the house to myself.

I hadn’t done my income tax yet, my floors were covered with a week’s worth of dog hair and dirty pawprints, I had writing work to finish, a website to design…I really had a full weekend of work to be done. Then, as he stood at the door with his coat on, a small voice whispered that I should I go too. I sighed. I hate that small voice.

I knew I should go, but I really wanted to stay home to get caught up. I've just been so busy - I needed that time. Then I recalled a Bible verse I’d just read that morning: James 4:17 - ‘Remember, it is sin to know what you ought to do and then not do it.’

I decided people are more important than work. And I came home a wiser person. I probably won't always make the best decisions...or I won't always do what I ought to...but choosing people over work yesterday means the next time I have to make a choice, I'll have a good reason to choose wisely. There might be another valuable lesson. And I still have a few weeks to do my income tax...and muddy dog prints are a sign of spring.

Who will be more important than your work this week?


Victoria Cummings said...

What a gift you gave this man. One person is a visitor, two people are an audience. Telling his stories allows him the peace of knowing that he will be remembered.

Carolynn said...

In this moment, I suppose it would be you. :o) I'm reading your blog and enjoying it immensely, instead of working. Let's call it a coffee break.

Diane said...

okay, so you wrote this ages ago. But the message is timeless. Thank you for sharing these wonderful words of wisdom as you always do.