Ambulances, Struggle, & Surrender

This article appeared in the August 2005 issue of Spirited Solutions’

Do I have some wild news to tell you! I got to take my first ambulance ride! Yes, a couple of weeks ago, I had a severe anaphylactic reaction to something—we don’t know what—and I ended up on a stretcher in a brand spanking new ambulance, on my way to UNC hospitals.

It was a sober moment, I’ll assure you, but the EMS angel and I had good laugh over the fact that I was blessed with the nicest, state-of-the-art ambulance for my ride. Hey, if you’ve gotta go to the hospital, why not go in style???

I spent a week in the hospital, one foot in this world and one in the other, just thinking about my life and all the people who have touched it. And you know what? When my throat was swelling up and I was afraid I soon wouldn’t be able to breathe, guess what I was thinking about?

Not the wash I needed to do, not this newsletter, not even my new Toyota RAV. All I could think about were the people I love and how much I wanted to have just one more conversation with each of them—really, with each of you!

We are addicted to struggle in our society, and we are certainly addicted to our work. (Do you think there might be a relationship there??!!) We often neglect our relationships with old friends, family, and even those closest to us because we need to be “responsible” and “productive.”

What would happen if we gave up that Puritan legacy that binds us to suffering, struggle, and the twisted notion of no pain, no gain? What if we decided to do what we darn well please and didn’t apologize for all the joy that brings us?

I’ve learned a lot through this experience, but one of the major lessons is that I need to slow down and spend more time with me, with God, and with those I love. It’s that simple.

The quality of our lives is only as good as the quality of our relationships. And that includes our relationships with our own selves and our Higher Power. Stephen Covey talks about putting deposits in your relationship bank account. But some of us haven’t even OPENED that account! Others of us don’t even know that account EXISTS!

What are you doing today to know yourself and appreciate yourself better, to understand your family and appreciate them more, and to nourish your friends and colleagues and not take them for granted? What are you doing to stay connected to your Higher Power?

Think about it. As for me, I’ve gotta sign off now—I’m going to a movie matinee with two dear friends. The title of the film is “Yes!”

Say YES to the love in your life. It’s the only thing you’ll think about when it comes time for you to leave this planet. And, it’s the only thing your soul can take with you when you go.

“What the world really needs is more love and less paper work.” Pearl Bailey

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