Nurse Wisdom from the ICU at OHSU (4.26.19)
“The ICU is one big reminder that all the stupid stuff we spend so much time worrying about doesn’t really matter at all. The ICU is like a really good editor removing all the extra words from a sentence leaving you with only the essence. You learn in here not to sweat the small stuff. You have only one focus in here and that is to bring as much love as you possibly can to your loved one. Don’t waste your energy on all those other things that aren’t worth your energy. You need your energy for what matters.”
It’s true. The things that matter the most in life are always at the mercy of the things that matter the least. A crisis reminds us the stuff we spend so much energy worrying about really doesn’t matter at all – The grudge. What others think about you. Ambition. Jealousy. That extra 10 lbs. Unattainable perfection.
I was sitting with someone near their transition from this life to MORE life. With eyes moist from tears, he said, “Steven, you need to know at the end of your life you realize you climbed too many ladders leaning against the wrong wall; had too many possessions that ultimately possessed you; held too many grudges that proved to be petty; worried too much about what others thought about you only to find they didn’t think about you at all; worried about too many things that proved not to be worth the worry; tried to control what you can’t control; and watched too much damn television. And now I realize it’s all about love. If I have any regrets at all, it’s that I didn’t forgive easily enough and I didn’t love generously enough.”
We all share a common travesty. Dryers across the world are in cahoots with one another to eat as many socks as they can leaving a world full of single socks. Why do we keep that single sock and put it in the top drawer. Life is like that top drawer full of single socks – full of things you think have value but all they really do is clutter your life. Don’t wait for a crisis to remember the things that matter the most are always at the mercy of the things that matter least. Place your hand on your heart and say “Yes!” today to those things that make life worth living.