Have you ever thought to yourself: What do I live for? or What matters most to me?
I will not soon forget one of these wonderful people I have sat down with. The man I am referring to was the husband of one of my favorite investigators. His name was Al. They lived in a cozy, brick home in a quaint town. It seemed like every time we would show up, without fail, Al would be out front with his walker gardening out front. Needless to say, his garden was beautifully kept. Al would always sit in on lessons and nod his head and give input every once in a while. After 5 months of getting to know this friendly couple we began to see their desires and what they look forward to in life. We soon found that Al is one of those men that loves getting things done and being able to work with his hands, especially in his garden. In a lot of ways, he reminded me of my grandfather. Like my grandpa, as Al got older and older he felt like he wasn't able to do the things that he used to. His health continued to decline as we visited the couple. He had a few falls and a few trips to the hospital. His wife worried about him quite often.
On a visit in the last little bit I was there, my heart broke for Al. Each visit he seemed to be less and less engaged and subsequently more and more distant. Finally, one night he completely broke down. This man that used to have so much purpose now was completely distraught. As tears rolled from his eyes he told stories of the time when he grew up on a farm in Maine. He would ride horses, till the soil, plant seeds, and reap from the harvest. He reminisced on the things he had achieved in this life and reflected on how absolutely incapable he felt now. He was devastated that he couldn't even uphold a garden now. He had what I have come to know as "empty eyes." Empty eyes the result of hitting rock bottom and feeling as though there is nothing left. As I looked into Al's empty eyes, I saw a piece of my grandpa in him.
I will promise anyone on earth the same thing that we promised Al that night. There is more to life than this. When it is all said and done things like working on cars, supporting a family, or tending a garden are great things to do in this life to gain experience but ultimately we don't take cars, money, or our garden with us. I know that when we leave from this life we have the ability to be with our family again, to return with God, and ultimately experience joy that we cannot comprehend. Let us all take some time to evaluate what matters most to us. Focus on those things that matter most. Reach out to a friend, bond with your family, and achieve worthy goals. I know that the happiness that comes from those things is the happiness that will last into the life to come.