“Be content with what you have; rejoice in the way things are. When you realize there is nothing lacking, the whole world belongs to you.” Lao Tzu
I caught an interview on the today show with a remarkable woman afflicted with ALS (Lou Gehrig’s Disease; http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Amyotrophic_lateral_sclerosis). At the time of the interview she was in the advanced stages of the degenerative disease, unable to clearly talk for herself so her husband translated her mumblings.
She wrote a book called, “Until I Say Goodbye: My Year of Living with Joy,” about her experiences. When she discovered that she had a fatal disease, she decided to truly live for her remaining days, focusing on the joy she had with her family and friends instead of the regular new limitations her body imposed on her. She wrote the book on an ipad, and later an iphone, with a single finger, as that was all that she was able to use.
In the interview, her husband likened the disease’s impact on the muscles as driving a car with a tank of gas. If you drive slowly, you might be able to drive longer but if you drive fast, the gas will be used up sooner. Susan decided that she would drive with her foot to the floor, enjoying life and as many memories as she could create for her friends and family as she could in the time she had remaining. She always wanted to see the Northern Lights, so she did. Then she proceeded to take trips with her sister, husband, and each of her children to create golden memories for the years to come.
What an amazing and truly inspiring book. It didn’t gloss over what she was going through, but instead, approached it with acceptance. She acknowledged the loss of her future with her friends and family, but willingly put that aside to enjoy the now.
I’ve been thinking a lot about this book and the lesson within. My biggest take-away is to plan for the future but to live in the now. I’ve always been very careful to save for the future, and while I don’t want that to change, I do think I could make some changes in my master plan to better accommodate my life now without sacrificing so much for an unknown future.
Thank you Susan Spencer-Wendell. Thank you for your amazing spirit, thank you for sharing your experiences in your wonderful book, and thank you so much for making me think and helping me to grow and learn.
Note: I receive nothing from sharing this site and have no relationship with the author beyond a great appreciation for her and her book.