Monday, June 25, 2012

You Must Fight

Visiting a man in his early 80’s who is recovering from hip surgery, I ask, “what keeps you going?” He looks me dead in the eye and says with fierce convicton, “You must fight.” I pause as he does. He adds, “even if it hurts.” He continues, “I had surgery yesterday and I am walking today. They don’t want you to be in bed. If you stay in bed you will sink into the bed and never get up.” He pauses again. I meet his gaze.

Then his tone shifts and he says, “I was married 56 years. My wife died three years ago.” His voice cracks. I say, “it hurts?” He nods his head silently. After a long pause, he says, “Preparation."

I give him a quizzical look. He continues, “Did you know that in that one word are contained over one hundred words?” I reply, “no I didn’t.” He says, “You know how I know?” "How?” I reply. He says, “I took out a dictionary. There is no b,c,d. I started with a. Then e, i..." I resist the urge to question the veracity of what he is suggesting and pay attention to the one word he named. I say, “So many words in that one. Just look for the ones that are there.”

His calmly determined gaze is impossible to ignore. He says, “You tell people. Tell them.” I reply, “I will.” He relaxes his gaze and thanks me. I acknowledge this, turn, and head for the open door.

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