Archive for the ‘ Inspiration ’ Category

A Sweet Lesson on Patience

(Shared this from my good mate Meg via Daily Transformations.  Thanks lub!)

A NYC Taxi driver wrote:

I arrived at the address and honked the horn. After waiting a few minutes I honked again. Since this was going to be my last ride of my shift I thought about just driving away, but instead I put the car in park and walked up to the door and knocked.. ‘Just a minute’, answered a frail, elderly voice. I could hear something being dragged across the floor.

After a long pause, the door opened. A small woman in her 90’s stood before me. She was wearing a print dress and a pillbox hat with a veil pinned on it, like somebody out of a 1940’s movie.

By her side was a small nylon suitcase. The apartment looked as if no one had lived in it for years. All the furniture was covered with sheets.  There were no clocks on the walls, no knickknacks or utensils on the counters. In the corner was a cardboard box filled with photos and glassware. ‘Would you carry my bag out to the car?’ she said. I took the suitcase to the cab, then returned to assist the woman. She took my arm and we walked slowly toward the curb.

She kept thanking me for my kindness. ‘It’s nothing’, I told her.. ‘I just try to treat my passengers the way I would want my mother to be treated.’ ‘Oh, you’re such a good boy, she said. When we got in the cab, she gave me an address and then asked, ‘Could you drive through downtown?’ ‘It’s not the shortest way,’ I answered quickly.. ‘Oh, I don’t mind,’ she said. ‘I’m in no hurry. I’m on my way to a hospice. I looked in the rear-view mirror. Her eyes were glistening. ‘I don’t have any family left,’ she continued in a soft voice..’The doctor says I don’t have very long.’ I quietly reached over and shut off the meter. ‘What route would you like me to take?’ I asked.

For the next two hours, we drove through the city. She showed me the building where she had once worked as an elevator operator. We drove through the neighborhood where she and her husband had lived when they were newlyweds She had me pull up in front of a furniture warehouse that had once been a ballroom where she had gone dancing as a girl. Sometimes she’d ask me to slow in front of a particular building or corner and would sit staring into the darkness, saying nothing.

As the first hint of sun was creasing the horizon, she suddenly said, ‘I’m tired.Let’s go now’. We drove in silence to the address she had given me. It was a low building, like a small convalescent home, with a driveway that passed under a portico. Two orderlies came out to the cab as soon as we pulled up. They were solicitous and intent, watching her every move. They must have been expecting her. I opened the trunk and took the small suitcase to the door. The woman was already seated in a wheelchair.

How much do I owe you?’ She asked, reaching into her purse. ‘Nothing,’ I said ‘You have to make a living,’ she answered. ‘There are other passengers,’ I responded. Almost without thinking, I bent and gave her a hug.She held onto me tightly. ‘You gave an old woman a little moment of joy,’ she said. ‘Thank you.’ I squeezed her hand, and then walked into the dim morning light.. Behind me, a door shut.It was the sound of the closing of a life..

I didn’t pick up any more passengers that shift. I drove aimlessly lost in thought. For the rest of that day,I could hardly talk.What if that woman had gotten an angry driver,or one who was impatient to end his shift? What if I had refused to take the run, or had honked once, then driven away?

On a quick review, I don’t think that I have done anything more important in my life. We’re conditioned to think that our lives revolve around great moments, but great moments often catch us unaware-beautifully wrapped in what others may consider a small one.

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Love is THE answer – every day of the year

I’m starting this blog with an article I read not too long after I got out of the hospital.  It puts things into perspective and I have to say:  Many of us really take for granted what we already have…

How do you face cancer, death, a bad childhood, horrible things people do to you, natural disasters, or a bad economy?  This article offers some answers.


Today, I diagnosed metastatic cancer in a new patient who had just come to see me. I had to tell this young, beautiful, vibrant woman that did not not have long to live, perhaps a few months. There was nothing I could do for her. All I could do was to tell her that I cared for her. I could show her my professional “love.” My consultation report was faxed to the patient’s referring primary physician, and an hour later, the physician called me, in disbelief. Together on the phone, we could only share a sense of profound loss. You might read this and think: Love is useless in this case. Love will not cure her cancer, nor will love protect her from the pain and suffering that is imminent. And you would be absolutely correct. But what is the alternative to love? Is it hate? Is it apathy? When I was younger, I used to consider that only actions and accomplishments are truly useful. You can list them, objectively and concretely. You can measure productivity and compare the results to other people’s activities. But when there is no useful action, as in this case, is there nothing left but despair? When someone hurts you, is there nothing to do but retaliate? Medically, it has been shown that hate hurts you physically just as much, if not more, than the person you hate. Scientifically, it has been shown that despair pains you mentally just as much, if not more, than actual bodily trauma. So, should you choose “love”, because it is the lesser of two evils? Well, I certainly do not think so. As I get older and accumulate more knowledge and experience, I realize more how little control I have over life in general. Maybe you did not have a good childhood, perhaps people have done horrible things to you, natural disasters occur, and now you are helpless. Please realize that the only thing you have under your control is how you feel and how you will react to external events. Unless you have a psychiatric illnessArticle Search, you can choose to “love” or you can choose to “hate.” None of us lives forever. Do you want to wait until you’re lying on your deathbed before you think “maybe I should have been nicer to this person or to that person?” Or do you want to evaluate every day of your life whether you have contributed in some way some love to the world that day? I offer you my humble opinion that “Love is THE answer – every day of the year!”

Dr. Mai Brooks is a surgical oncologist/general surgeon, with expertise in early detection and prevention of cancer.  More at http://www.drbrooksmd.com/, thecancerexperience.wordpress.com and progressreportoncancer.wordpress.com

Have a good one…

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