Lessons On Living

carole and bob for carole knits

Last weekend Dale and I had the privilege of spending some time with Bob and his wife, Tina. His health, as I’m sure you all have suspected, has gotten slowly worse over the last few months, and he is currently at home and in the care of hospice. He has, he says, good days and bad days. On the good days he eats his favorite foods and watches football and visits with friends. On the bad days, well, I can’t really tell you about the bad days because Bob doesn’t talk about those days. He just shrugs his shoulders and says, eh, some days aren’t so good. And then he looks you in the eye and says it’s okay. He says that he knows where he’s going when he leaves this life. He says that it’s been one helluva ride and he’s done more and seen more than he ever thought he would. He talks about his music and all of the times he performed with the band, he talks about his faith and  his family and his friends and what I see when he talks about those things is joy.

I shared this picture on Facebook the other day because it so perfectly sums up what life is all about.

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Even though some might say that Bob’s life is awful right now, he still thinks life is amazing and beautiful and that just blows my mind. When Tina saw this quote she said that’s why we grieve so much when things are awful, because so much of life is amazing and beautiful. She’s right, of course.

There are life lessons here and I’m trying hard to process them. I know with certainty that my One Little Word journey of the past two years is connected to all of this. Last year, when my word was joy, I remember thinking that I was tempting fate – that by choosing joy I was actually going to have to face something terribly awful. And I was right. Bob got sick and there was no joy in that. Of course, what I learned was that we wouldn’t feel joy if we didn’t feel sadness, too. I found a whole new level of joy in spending time with Bob, in recognizing how very much he means to me, and I sort of learned that you can choose joy even when life sucks – I’m not ashamed to admit that it’s a struggle sometimes.

And then this year I chose the word grace for my One Little Word. I know a lot of people think of grace in terms of religion, and while I think of it that way too, that was not my intention when I chose it for my word. Grace in this context is about a way of living, it’s about love and acceptance and gratitude. It’s about staying calm and accepting the good and the bad stuff life throws at you. It’s about realizing that you can respond with grace even when joy is hard to find and you have to really really look for it.

And that’s what I see in Bob and Tina. Joy and grace in the face of some really awful stuff.

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Comments

  1. Jo-Ann says

    W should all strive to face life with grace and joy as heartily as Bob. I will continue to pray for Bob and Tina, and for you <3

  2. Michael Herbert says

    Carole, you write so eloquently with wisdom for all of us. Yes Bob & Tina has brought so much joy
    in all our lives., I am also working on Grace this year. Bob reminds me and I quote “It is what it is”

  3. says

    what a beautiful post, Carole. full of joy and grace…and heartbreak. but in all of it a celebration of life. xo.

  4. Marcy says

    This must have been a very difficult post to write. Thank you for sharing Bob’s wonderful spirit with us. My heart goes out to him and Tina, and to all those who love them. I envy his faith and grace.

  5. says

    Acceptance of the bad stuff is really difficult, and to do it without becoming defeatist and bitter can sometimes be near impossible. Bob is clearly an extraordinary man to smile and express joy. I wish Bob and Tina peace, comfort, and much love.

  6. says

    The love of friends like you and Dale and the knowledge that life is full of joy and grace is surely what sustains Bob and Tina. May you all continue in love, grace, and peace.

  7. says

    What a lovely post. and a lovely man. God bless all of you.

    I learned these lessons at a very young age, and though I wish I could have waited to learn them later, as an adult I am glad that I have known life was meaningful and important when others had no reason to even think about it.

  8. says

    This touched my spirit…thank you. You are right, life is mostly amazing, but when it is perfectly awful Grace steps in, helps us get through it and lets us find amazing again.

    Much love you you, Dale and Bob’s family.

  9. says

    I’m so glad you wrote about Bob. He has been in my thoughts and prayers a lot lately. As have all of you. I think we remain on this earth to teach others until our time is finished. And Bob is most certainly a perfect example.

  10. Judy H says

    This is a beautifully written post and a good one to stop and reflect on. I will be praying for your friend today.

  11. christine lombardi says

    Carol, I appreciate the kind and loving words that you have shared to all of us. Yes God is good all the time, all the time God is good. I will continue to pray for comfort for Bob an d strength for them both to gety through this difficult time. Thank you. {{hugs}}

  12. Linda says

    what a special and beautiful man! When you look in the dictionary – next to the word “joy” – should be a picture of Bob!

    Linda in VA

  13. Debbie says

    Beautifully expressed, Carole. May all of you continue this journey with grace, love, joy & peace.

  14. Julia in KW says

    Very eloquently put, Carole. Your words speak to me in particular this week…thanks, j