4. Joy of the Journey
Chapter Four Highlights
“There are countless ways that we can build bridges to people facing end-of-life situations, some brief and some very long. Are we mobilizing our imagination and using social ingenuity to reach and welcome these people? Are we doing what needs to be done to affirm their humanity?”
- Gordy Zacks
“Make this pledge to yourself: Never be too busy to do the right thing by a friend. The finality, the irreversibility of death drives home that imperative more than any other force I know. How you will be remembered is often driven by how you remember others. Don’t do it to simply satisfy expectations. Do it because remembering others sustains and elevates the dignity of us all.”
- Gordy Zacks
“Dignity comes from God not man. My friend Natan Sharansky, an Israeli hero and human-rights activist once said to me ‘No other human being can take another person’s dignity away. Only you can give your dignity to another.’
“The end of life doesn’t strip us of dignity. The last stages of life do assault our hubris. And smile: If an astronaut is prepared to wear a Maximum Absorbency Garment (an intergalactic Depends) on a long-distance spacewalk to do his or her job, why shouldn’t you do the same to achieve what you need to do? Your willingness to accept perceived “humiliation” will often be directly related to your opportunities to experience joy. Live life as it’s available to you and relish it!”
- Gordy Zacks
Questions to Consider
We invite you to help change the conversation on the end of life and share your thoughts and experiences below:
Personal Energy Goals
1. Have I rewritten my ‘bucket list’ of what I want to achieve given both the time available and my physical ability to actually do what I would like to do?
2. Do I regularly reassess what I am trying to do for best impact and most enjoyable and rewarding results? Or am I wasting valuable time in a struggle to do things that are no longer possible or must be done in a different way?
3. Am I realistic and accepting that my strength and physical options are likely to deteriorate… and that I must re-calibrate? For example, things that were perfectly possible a week or a month ago might not be possible today?
4. Am I asking loved ones to be my mirrors? Are friends and family asked to signal you when you need to rest? Are they there to help you with those nuisances that were once a snap and that are now both traps and trials?
5. How can I be “socially ingenious” in helping to energize others in innovative ways?
Personal Energy Booster Tips
1. Do I try to match the day’s activities to my body’s biological clock? For example, if I’m most alert and vigorous in the mornings, do I reserve the day’s most important activities for these high-energy times?
2. Do I have an opportunity to be around young people and children? Not only can the experience be irreplaceably cherished by the young people, it has a wonderfully stimulating and uplifting energy that can be a powerful energizer for your psyche. Young children are perhaps the purest embodiment of love and spontaneity that any of us can know.
3. Am I trying to give birth to a full-gown man overnight? If you’ve postponed writing War & Peace or painting the ceiling of the Sistine Chapel until the day you get some very bad news, don’t start now. By the way, the comedian Jackie Mason once quipped that he and his brother-in-law could have done that ceiling in a day and a half, if they only had a couple of rollers. Define what’s doable and do it well!
4. Am I tanking up and recharging? You can’t get very far without energy. Are you nibbling at the things you like, even if you eat sparingly?
Are you vigilant about keeping yourself hydrated?