A life well lived

A biography about Clint Eastwood  impressed me with his body of work and it made me think of other well known people whose work I have admired; Clint Eatswood, Robert Duvall, AnaiisNin, Meryl Streep, Eudora Welty, John Steinbeck, Mother Theresa…

The list of famous people goes on and on-people whose creative output or extraordinary acts makes them household names. People held up as examples of lives well lived, who we would name as role models, people whose lives we would emulate.

What I want to do here is remark on those people whose names are not well known-but whose lives are closer to our own. People that you know yourself, if you look and listen.  People whose lives are not observed as anything special by those around them because they aren’t on TV-they aren’t famous.

Let’s make them famous.

CNA’s who work for $8 an hour and really do care about their patients. If you have a family member in a nursing home, or have spent any time in a hospital, you know how rare they are. And how unsung their work. They spend the most time with the patient, make sure the Nurse knows what’s going on with each one so the Nurse can advise the Doctor. And the pay rate goes up the ladder that way. The person spending the least time with the patient makes the most money. I won’t comment any more on that in this blog-I don’t want to get off track.

I worked with a girl at a convenience store who had little education but a golden heart and sunny disposition. She had finished high school but there was no money for college-and no, she couldn’t get a loan. Her father was long gone and her mother made minimum wage. Her mother had urged her to marry her high school sweetheart-so she did. When she found out she was preganant (and yes, they had used birth control. It isn’t 100% effective) he kissed her and left for his factory job. He never came home.

She is raising her son alone, on a convenience store wage, and working with him every night to learn his ABC’s. “He is not going to end up like me,” she vows.

There is man on my street whose wife is dying. Cervical cancer. She refuses to empty thier small savings for treatment she knows won’t make her well. They fought about it a little, but she won. “Hey,” she told me, “What’s he gonna do? Leave me?” She laughs about this, he shakes his head and they spend as much tiem together as they can. He was laid off from his job a few weeks ago. He is looking for work, willing to take anything. The neighbors have given him mechanic work (he is a master mechanic) paying him to change their oil, fix the odd dent and anything else he can handle in his own garage. The neighbors, here, are as much part of this blog as this couple who are facing the end of their lives together without even being able to go on a last vacation together (they always planned to see Paris when they retired.)

I could go on and on. So can you.

People who work for $8 an hour and check their bank balance every day to make sure nothing has bounced. People who make it to work early and stay late to finish the job, those who get up in the night to care for a sick child/partner/parent and get up again to make it to work on time.

People who stop to help an injured animal, drop a coin into a cup without demanding to know where it’s going, people who clean their own houses, cook their family’s meals and do it with a loving heart.

All of these people live ordinary lives in extraordinary circumstances. I tip my hat and say “Thank you.”

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One response to “A life well lived

  1. Amen Katie! All the little things with a loving heart mean so much to all of us. And thank you you’re one of them.

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