| I have a friend who travels the back roads of rural Missouri. These are the roads crowded narrow by encroaching forests, where one slip of the wheel would send her airborne toward eternity--curvy, twisty roads cut through the Ozark Mountains. Over the years, she’s had her share of misadventures, both weather and wildlife varieties, a totaled car or so. Regardless, three times a week she gathers her Bible and calendar and hits the road.
My friend, on the near side of eighty years of age, is a hospice worker. In these times of government cut backs, chronic unemployment and increasing economic isolation, my friend is often the only visitor to these housebound and chronically ill rural dwellers.
On arrival, she settles into the nearest rocker and lets the conversation flow. For an hour or longer she is engrossed in the stories of these forgotten souls near death. She laughs with them. She cries with them. She prays with them. She freely gives hugs of love and friendship and empathy. Then she is off, steering her little Chevy through the mountainous roads to the next house of need.
Life is not one great success after another. Daily existence can be tedious and sometimes depressing. Lives, loves and legacies are buried in the minutia of daily living. Memories authenticate and validate life choices. Life Stories authenticate and validate lives.