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Friday, August 28, 2009

Eyes Like Vivian

I worked for an ophthalmologist for seven years.  During those years we saw thousands of patients each year - some with good eyesight and some with no eyesight at all.  I was always intrigued by the attitudes of the patients we encountered.  There were those who came into the office, whose eyesight had maybe gotten a tiny bit worse, but they "couldn't see a thing".  They were actually seeing pretty good, but in their mind they weren't because it wasn't as good as it used to be. 

On the other hand, there were patients who came in who could barely see anything at all...couldn't see the great big "E" at the end of the room, maybe could only see finger movement, and some saw nothing at all - total darkness.  The ones I remember who couldn't see anything or only saw finger movement were some of our happiest patients!  It seems strange, doesn't it?  Well, not really. Not when you think like Vivian.

Vivian is one sweet lady I remember in particular.  She was so kind and softspoken.  She loved to come visit Dr. K and us girls, too.  She brightened our day every time she came to visit, which was several times a year because she had glaucoma.  Vivian's vision had gone, but she didn't need her eyes to make her happy.  She had happiness that came from within her and not from external circumstances.  I believe Vivian also had her "eyes" on Jesus and was "looking" up, even though she could see almost nothing around her at all.

The story below reminds me of Vivian.  She passed away several years ago, but I think this could have been her own story.

Each Day Is A Gift
by Author Unknown

The 92-year-old, petite, well-poised and proud lady, who is fully dressed each morning by eight o'clock, with her hair fashionably coifed and makeup perfectly applied, even though she is legally blind, moved to a nursing home today.

Her husband of 70 years recently passed away, making the move necessary.

After many hours of waiting patiently in the lobby of the nursing home, she smiled sweetly when told her room was ready.

As she maneuvered her walker to the elevator, I provided a visual description of her tiny room, including the eyelet sheets that had been hung on her window. "I love it," she stated with the enthusiasm of an eight-year-old having just been presented with a new puppy.

"Mrs. Jones, you haven't seen the room... just wait."

"That doesn't have anything to do with it," she replied. "Happiness is something you decide on ahead of time. Whether I like my room or not doesn't depend on how the furniture is arranged, it's how I arrange my mind. I already decided to love it. It's a decision I make every morning when I wake up. I have a choice; I can spend the day in bed recounting the difficulty I have with the parts of my body that no longer work, or get out of bed and be thankful for the ones that do. Each day is a gift, and as long as my eyes open I'll focus on the new day and all the happy memories I've stored away, just for this time in my life."

She went on to explain, "Old age is like a bank account, you withdraw from what you've put in. So, my advice to you would be to deposit a lot of happiness in the bank account of memories Thank you for your part in filling my Memory bank. I am still depositing."

And with a smile, she said: "Remember the five simple rules to be happy:
1. Free your heart from hatred.
2. Free your mind from worries.
3. Live simply.
4. Give more.
5. Expect less."


A.Marie said...

I love this post! I am going to create a link and put it on my blog...My Grandma was alot like the older woman in the story. She would patiently wait for whatever she needed, and because of her sweet, patient nature, the staff at the nursing home considered her to be one of their favorite residents. Her deep faith in the Lord was evident in all that she did, and she had, and still has, a powerful influence on how I try to live my life! :)

Jules @ Lovely Las Vegas said...

I found your site from Ms. A. Marie : ). Beautiful, beautiful story! And inspiring, too. Perspective is key for happiness! Thanks for sharing this wonderful story.

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