Saturday, June 26, 2010

Douglas S Wright Group on Facebook

1 comment:

  1. Hi Doug:

    I wrote a little piece that was inspired by you and what you taught me. It actually was a response to a wonderful story written on a blog called the Alzheimer's Reading room (to read the fully story go to I wanted to pass this particular memory along to your blog. Well, here it is. In response to the author's story:

    I am curious as to your use of the word “un-holy,” since there are numerous meanings—all of which might apply depending on one’s perspective (for example: not holy; not sacred or hallowed; impious; sinful; wicked; Informal usage: dreadful; ungodly). From one perspective, the word “dreadful” could be a descriptive way of viewing late stage Alzheimer’s disease. However, I cannot agree with that word to describe this disease or any disease for that matter. Certainly, there are experiences in life that we pray we do not have to go through either for ourselves or for our loved ones, and yet every painful or joyful experience is another part of this incredible journey we call life. Perhaps it all centers on how we perceive our life experiences.

    A few years ago, I connected again with a mentor (a professor who taught at a private college) while he was nearing the end of his life from lung cancer. We had lunch and picked up the conversation where we left off almost five-plus years earlier. Although he was experiencing increasing pain by that stage of the illness, he told me the pain and his awareness of his own mortality had sharpened his remaining joyful experiences. You can probably guess what brought him the greatest joy--connecting with people and the beauty of the earth. While declining, but still able to travel, he continued to turn strangers into friends, to listen to their stories, and to give gifts of his handwritten poems to spread the joy he felt.

    Even before the illness, I remember that when he was inspired by seeing or hearing something beautiful, he would always exclaim, “This is what it means to be alive!” Just when I was getting used to his moving comment whenever beauty would appear, I was puzzled when he said the same thing, with the same enthusiasm, upon passing by an old, arthritic woman struggling with each step. Since I did not think he was saying this ironically, “This is what it means to be alive!” I asked him how he could say such a thing, with such joy, when it was obvious she was suffering. He explained that even in suffering, there can be great joy. However, most often suffering distracts us from the truth of just how glorious it is to be living, especially living in the moment, cherishing our experience, and transcending pain to find the reward of joy in the most humbling circumstances. That is how he lived his life to the end, inspiring others, transcending pain to find and give joy.

    ...missing you Doug