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The Art of Living Every Minute of Your Life

Feb 27, 2022
I've loved stories all my

life

I love telling them I love hearing them and as a doctor I've been looked down on because I'm a storyteller in my profession our stories are seen as anecdotal evidence kind of second -Qualify the truth, you know a truth that has a very high value Limited compared to data and research, but stories have much more power than data and I found this out about 14 years ago when I was accidentally given a book contract and this was very confusing to me. very stressed because I am NOT a writer and my editor pointed this out to me almost the first words out of his mouth were like bubble gum remember you are not a writer you want someone else to write this book for you and when I told him no what I would like to try it myself.
the art of living every minute of your life
I realized this wasn't the answer she was expecting and then she said "remember you're not a writer so make sure you only write about what you know personally and in the end um that's what I did I wrote about what I know what I have learned from hundreds and hundreds of people with cancer who have been my patients and 42 years of being a doctor what I have learned from 55 years of

living

with an incurable disease called Crohn's disease and having had eight major surgeries what has been shared with me um by people in grocery stores on airplanes in the ladies room yeah and since I wasn't a writer my stories my memories were all I had and they are all any of us have and what I discovered writing these books of stories is that they are all that any of us needs because stories have the power to help us live beyond our limitations, beyond even our beliefs about ourselves and the best stories help us give new eyes help us to see ourselves differently to see

life

differently help us to be more without becoming different help us find deeper meaning and fulfillment in the lives we are already

living

the stories are in its deeper nature about meaning and significance is a function of the heart and not the intellect.
the art of living every minute of your life

More Interesting Facts About,

the art of living every minute of your life...

Over time I have come to see the heart not as a valentine but as an organ of vision a way of seeing that allows you to see under the surfaces under the masks that

every

one wears and the mask said life dresses up what's really there and you know when you hear a story a story reminds you listening to life from the heart reminds you that even the smallest things happen they can have great meaning and it allows you to open

your

heart enough to recognize this meaning and fill you know that meaning has the power to be a source of strength in difficult times strengthens us not by changing our lives but by changing our experience of our lives and that is what stories change our experience of our lives they remind us of who we are what is important what we could do and what we could be and a good history like a compass points to something real something that has stayed real over time something that can be true to you something you can depend on for

your

life Lopes and his wonderful children's book called cuervo y atadreja says that sometimes the people need a story more than food to live and that's why the best stories are really about the art of living and that's why tonight I wanted to talk a little about these stories about the art of living and to share some stories with you know my own stories the stories of other people in the hope that they will help you remember your stories the ones that have helped you live will help you perhaps you reflect on make your own course your own way of moving through the world and so i would like to start with a story about my mother because it was my mother who brought my attention to the art of living because of the way she died mom was a remarkable lady yes lived today she would be one hundred and eight years old and was one of the pioneers of public health nursing in the United States had a career at a time when few women were years old at a time when women who worked outside the home were viewed as morally suspect and at one point headed the New York City Department of Health he was 84 years old he chose heart bypass surgery because it was his last chance to live and the odds were very high the chances in ten that he would not survive this surgery but my mother was no ordinary old lady, she had lived her life as a maverick and audacious, and to her the odds looked good, so the morning of her surgery.
the art of living every minute of your life
I went to the hospital um and found out they had moved up the surgery time and I got there just in time to kiss her before they took her upstairs and she pulled me close and whispered in my ear Rachel is there something I want to tell you I want to make sure you know what happens whatever happens here today, i'm satisfied and i hope you'll do whatever it takes to be satisfied too and then she smiled her lovely, jaunty smile and they took her away and these were her final lucid words to me i'm satisfied and i thought about them for For a long time wondering what they meant, you know my mother had a successful career, she had many accomplishments, but I don't think it was this that gave her so much peace. and the tranquility before the certain death of Omir and over time his words have become a kind of question how do I live so that at the end of my life I can also say that I am satisfied and you know that I have also come to suspect that the one of this kind of satisfaction is not in the world of recognition or power or wealth or possessions that this kind of peace and contentment at the end of a long life is about the art of living it's more about that than how much we have accumulated or who knows our name or how much we know then one of the things about the art of living is about receiving all our blessings most of us have been giving way more blessings than we have received we don't take the time to receive our blessings we are busy we are distracted We may not even recognize our blessings, but mostly our beliefs about life and about ourselves keep us from having the things we no longer have s have been given, so I'd like to tell you a couple of stories about this.
the art of living every minute of your life
This is one of the first. lessons in living well that my mother told me when I was a very little girl and she was a young woman in the middle drawer of her dresser were silk stockings, many dozen pairs in beautiful colors, each wrapped in its own package. Original from the store they had. d have never been used he is love to pull a chair up to the open drawer and touch them counting the packages and admiring the beautiful colors once i asked my mother why i never use them and she told me they were too good to use if used them they would break or get damaged and could not be replaced because it was war time and all the silk in the United States had been diverted to make parachutes she was saving them she said for a special time each year in the summer we would go to one Rented a little cabin on Long Island to escape the hottest part of the summer in the city leaving our apartment in Manhattan empty and one year when we came home to find our apartment had been ransacked and stolen I remember walking through the rooms surprised to find many of The most precious things in my family disappeared and others were broken and thrown on the floor, but the most shocking thing was in the bedroom.
The drawers of my mother's dresser were open and the middle one was completely empty. This was my first serious lesson on loss at the time when I was always scolded by my teachers for not taking better care of my things, but my mother had taken very good care of her socks, she had never worn them. I was puzzled by this for a long time. profound effect on my family, my father put more locks on all the doors and

every

place we lived in afterward had many locks on the windows and at least three locks on every outside door except this one d He didn't seem to answer my questions.
Eventually, I started using everything he had. wear it out you know more than 55 years later I think about those stockings with regret there is an even more common way a much more American way that we did not receive our blessings a long time ago the little son of one of my friends and I became very good friends and most of the time we played with these with their little little cars they were called hot wheels right and he had two of them and we would race them from one window sill to another and park them and race them and tell each one another all the time but we imagined we were passing by on the road it was fun and I loved this little boy so much and at the time these little Hot Wheel cars were picked up by most six year olds and Kenny dreamed of them and I longed to buy him more but I c I couldn't think of a way to do this without embarrassing my friends who had very little money and then one of the major gas companies started giving away a car H ot Wheels with each Philip and I quickly made all the staff of the clinic in Stanford sweat to buy this brand of gasoline and for a month I organized all of us with a checklist so that we did not get to set fire to engines or two Porsches from two Volkswagens and in One month we accumulated all the Hot Wheels cars that were being made at the time and I gave them I took them to Kenny in a big big box they filled up all the windowsills in the living room and then he stopped playing with them puzzled I asked him why he didn't tell him anymore They liked cars, he looked away and with a trembling voice he told me no.
I don't know how to love so many cars Rachel, you know a lot of us have too many Hot Wheels to love, it can make you feel empty. A woman who found a new life after having cancer, once told me that before she was sick with cancer, she had always felt empty, that's why I needed to have and more and more things she told me I kept accumulating books and magazines and newspapers and clothes and people which only made things worse because the more I accumulated what I was experiencing everything I was experiencing nothing you could have put that right on my doorstep and all of that the time I thought it was empty because I didn't have enough and the change in her life began with a bath it was one of three items of clothing she wore if she wore to the hospital for her cancer operation every morning i really enjoyed how soft it was, the beautiful color it was and the way it felt it moved around it when I walked and then walked down the hall one morning while I was putting it on.
I had an overwhelming sense of gratitude, she said. me just thankful to have it and then she looked at me and looked really embarrassed she said you know that sounds funny i felt lucky but the weird part rachael was it wasn't new it was one of six bathrobes i have hanging in my closet i had never seen it before when she finished her chemo had a garage sale and sold half of everything she owned laughs and says her friends thought she was going to go crazy on chemo but doing this has really improved her life she says yes no idea what was in it my closets or in my drawers around my bookshelves.
I didn't know half the people whose home numbers were in my phone book. Many of them didn't even send me a card. Now I have less stuff and know fewer people, but I am not empty having a very different experience having was never enough we sat together in my office for a few moments watching the sun make patterns on the carpet and then he looked up and said that maybe we just have all we can of Rachel, you know how often a life-threatening illness gives us new eyes, allows people to discover the art of living and find deeper satisfaction in their lives, you know in the process of healing ourselves from being sick, our values ​​can change our priorities c a change and the values ​​and priorities that have limited us for years can disappear allowing us to live more deeply, fully and passionately than before this is a story about another one of my patients that this will tell you it happened to Cindy's husband when I met them he described her to me she's crazy, clean, like her mother before her, her house was perfectly or ganized, every raffle was staged, every piece of metal on display and this, despite living with three small children and a big bear for a husband, had an unerring eye with the slightest mess, one of her young daughters told me. that her mother could see a Cheerio on the kitchen floor from the other room and wouldn't be satisfied until the offending arm picked it up and confessed, but the cancer changed what her chemo did. so weak that she couldn't get from bed to bathroom easily, she had no strength to cook and the whole neighborhood had invaded her perfectly organized kitchen of hers and fed the kind heart of her family.
Hands and hands unfamiliar with the rules of the home had folded, washed, and put away clothes in all the wrong places. Her picture-perfect walls were covered with dozens of drawings made by her children's classmates, each with a prayer for her recovery, each taped to the wall with a piece of duct tape, and during the worst part, her husband brought home a kitten who shed everywhere, but whose poor purring warmth had comforted her during the dark hours of the night when she wasso sick from chemotherapy that she couldn't. I can't sleep now Several years later he says with a laugh that he would never want to go back to the way he was before I had cancer I drove my family crazy He said he resented them and all my guests because they upset the order of things I had been like this for years I she spoke of a visit to her sister shortly after she finished chemotherapy the sister is the daughter of the same mother she says we were sitting together in the kitchen having tea and i looked at her life living room had one of these rugs that shows every step and it was vacuumed so perfectly that every hair was pointing in the same direction she said that at one time this would have given me a deep sense of satisfaction now she seemed just her and untouched by life and she laughed and told me there is so much more to life than a Perfectly clean kitchen floor Rachel, you know that a life-threatening illness can shuffle our values ​​just like a deck of cards, sometimes a deck that's been in the fo When one of our cards has been at the bottom of our deck for years it turns out to be the top card I mean what really matters and you know after you've seen people sort their cards and play their hands in the presence of death for Many years, I would let's just say that rarely the top card is perfection, possessions, pride, or even power; most of the time, the top card is love. realization no matter what our lives are and meaning has this power not by changing our lives but by changing our experience of our lives and there is a wonderful Sufi story about the power of meaning to change experience at work asks us to imagine that we are in the 14th century watching a group of stone cutters build the cathedral and we stand there we watch these men they are all doing the same someone brings them a block they cut the rock with great skill into a block and then someone removes the block and they bring another stone to him and they will cut that stone into a block and someone removes that block and another stone is brought we watch this for about 10

minute

s and then we go up to the first man we say excuse me sir what are you doing and he turns to us with great hostility and says idiots use your eyes I saw you watching us you know you see what I'm doing they bring me a stone I cut it a block they take it away they bring me another stone edra i cut it into a block i've been doing this since i was old enough to work and i'll do it too the day i die why are you asking such a stupid question? use your eyes and so we get away from this explosion of hostility and go to the n Then man we say excuse me sir what is he doing? and he says: ah, I earn a living here for my beloved family with the money they pay us, there is good food on the table, and the house is a strong house, and the children are growing up. well he says I make my living here thanks to my loving family and then we move on to the last person, the last stone cutter, and we say to him what are you doing and he turns a face towards us that is absolutely beaming and he says oh I'm building a great cathedral a holy lighthouse that will stand as a beacon for people who are lost and scared and alone in the dark and will stand for a thousand years obviously every one of these men is doing exactly the same work but finding a sense of meaning in the most mundane and mundane tasks opens up those tasks to the experience of satisfaction and joy and even a sense of gratitude for the opportunity to do this work it is quite surprising how often people are unaware of meaning in their lives how easy it is to lose the larger meaning of our work and our lives we become distracted by pragmatic concerns and the pressure of time and fatigue we can be blinded by cynicism and numbness and perfectionism but our lives and our work are full of meaning anyway each of us lives a life much more meaningful than we know finding meaning is not about doing anything different, it's about seeing familiar things in new ways and telling you a medical story about this Harry as an ER doctor.
I think of them as the fighter pilots of Medicine and Harry live on the brink of exhaustion, he runs one of the biggest ERs in this city, he is also a very cynical man and one night, in the middle of his ER very busy, they brought a woman for baby and as soon as he examined her lying on the gurney in the hallway, he realized that unless his obstetrician was actually in the building, he was going to have this baby himself and he was pleased to be able to do it. Tell me, he enjoys aaja calallen's sperm labor technique, so he nicely told him that the doctor was on his way and she had delivered hundreds of babies there in the ER and if the baby arrived before that the doctor, he would be there. with her to deliver and she had barely uttered these words when the baby's head appeared and labor began and the ER team sprang into action and the nurses also stood on either side of Harry holding this woman's legs over their shoulders and about her Right down the hall, Harry successfully delivered a little girl and everything went perfectly.
She had released the entire back shoulder of hers. There was no cord around her neck. The baby was breathing spontaneously. She had a kind of family sense of pride. knew in himself and in his work and with the babies still attached to their mother, he placed her as we have been taught along her forearm with the back of her little head in the palm of her hand and lowered her below the level The placenta began to suck on his nose and mouth and as he was doing this the baby suddenly opened her eyes and looked deeply into his eyes and in that instant Harry passed by his usual way of seeing things and realized a very simple thing that he was he was the first human being this girl had ever seen and he could feel that his heart went out to her and that all people everywhere were welcoming him and he was filled with this irrational feeling of hope but it did not make him incompetent.
He continued to suck on the baby. nose and mouth and held and cut his cut but this incident has completely changed the way he does his job as Harry said he has assisted hundreds of babies and enjoys the thrill of making snap decisions and testing his own competence but He also told me that he had never allowed himself to experience the meaning of what he was doing or what he was serving with his experience before. Harry is not a particularly emotional man, but he describes the moment when the baby opened its eyes and looked deep into his eyes, describing that moment as a sacred moment and saying that in that flash he felt years of cynicism and fatigue melt away from him. him and was able to remember why he had chosen this job in the first place and he realized that everything he put into it had paid off for him now Harry says he feels like this is the first baby he's ever given birth to, the first baby she's actually delivered and she was aware as this was going on she had this feeling and being a guy she couldn't quite put her finger on what the feeling was right away it took a couple of days it wasn't her usual sense of pride it wasn't it was his usual sense of contentment, but it was a sense of gratitude for being the person who needed to be there at that moment and this event has made him wonder how many other moments of inspiration and connection to life he has missed in the 30s. years that he has been a doctor, he believes have been many, so he seeks these sacred moments. by the way now and he finds It's them because they are everywhere and they are in everyone's life.
I thought I'd share with you a very simple technique for finding new eyes. Something very simple. also in my continuing medical education courses we harden a lot as we were doctors to do it too and what is that you have your little book and you are going to spend ten

minute

s one night at the end of the day and what you do is sit with the book and reflect about your day going backwards. I just had dinner and was driving home before that. I had a meeting with Mrs. X whatever your life goes backwards like a videotape until you get to the moment you get out of bed in the morning and you're going to do this three times the first time you do your ask what surprised me today as soon as you find something that is an answer to that question, anything, you write it down briefly in your little book and then you start that review again from the time you are sitting forward until the morning and you do the second ask what touched my heart today as soon as you find something that answers that question you write it down and then start the review again and ask yourself the third question what inspired me today as soon as you find something that answers that question you write it down and that's it finished for today the first person to do this was a cancer surgeon who was leaving medicine and his wife gave him the gift of this course that he taught probably in the hope that he would change his mind n and I suggested that he write the diary.
I didn't want to do this. I told him it was cheaper than Prozac, so he decided he'd give it a try. Four days later he called me and told me what the trick is. Rachel. I told him what to do. You mean trick, he said, well I got the same answer all three days I've been doing this nothing nothing nothing I mean how can I be so busy and leading such a boring life? life like you're a doctor he says of course I am and I said no you have to look like you're a novelist or a journalist or even a poet you have to look up the stories and there was this silence and he said he did i'll try i didn't hear from him again for a long time and then he came to thank me for the changes that had happened in his life he says that at first he could only see his own life seven hours after it happened he saw things that were really amazing, moving and inspiring , but I only saw them at night when they happened at nine o'clock. at ten o'clock in the morning, but then the gap closed because seeing meaning is a capacity, we built it the same way we build a muscle and she began to be inspired, touched and surprised at the moment her own life was happening to her . and that a lot of things started to change because without saying a word to anyone people started talking to him differently he was probably talking to them a little differently they started sharing a lot more with him they started sending him photos of the life he had given them back through his cancer surgery they started to include him in the celebrations at the end of chemotherapy and he says that I really feel a deep sense of what I can do and I'm very glad that I can do this to do this work so that the journal is very powerful it is very psychologically sophisticated most of us have a front row seat in life and we're sitting in that front row seat with our eyes closed so another in another capacity that helps us um with the art of living is developing a sense of mystery you know that our entire culture is based on the pursuit of dominance and control of the entire culture we are so deep into dominance that we don't even Maybe we see the mystery when it happens right in front of ourselves or we offer ourselves some explanation that is so farfetched that it's incredible that we accept it and can accept that explanation for years and this is especially true in my profession, I must say, so So I'll tell you a story about this happened to me years ago when I was a young doctor at Sloan-kettering, the big cancer hospital in New York City, and in those days there was no hospice, so people who needed care weren't they could be managed at home they went to they were admitted to the hospital to die and there was one such man who was admitted to die and i don't remember his name it's too many years but i do remember his x-rays his bones look like swiss cheese they were plagued with cancer knee and two big snowballs of cancer in both of his lungs and in the two weeks he was with us in the hospital, each of those lesions got smaller and they disappeared and never came back now where we were certainly not we were frustrated obviously someone misdiagnosed this man so we sent the slides of him. again to pathologists across the country and all the pathologists responded and said classical osteogenic sarcoma so we had rounds and rounds it's a gathering of doctors all the doctors in the hospital and word got out so doctors from other hospitals they really came to look at this man to see his slides to hear his story and I remember the conclusion that 350 doctors came to that morning: the chemotherapy that had been stopped 11 months earlier was suddenly decided to work and the shame of it is that i never questioned this conclusion for the next 15 years i accepted it absolutely completely you know it's hard to realize thinking outside the box especially when everyone is thinking inside the box but outside the box can be where life is, you know and it is hard to realize that all your hard-won knowledge about the nature of the world may only be provisional and life may be r different than what i thought it was this is stressful its even scary you know if you read any of the holy scriptures about what aangel appears in front of a human, i mean about a mystery, the angel says the same thing, remember what the angel says, don't be afraid, don't be afraid. it's stressful but it's also rewarding because making friends with the unknown can restore a sense of wonder and wonder and vitality to your life a sense of gratitude for witnessing things you could never explain and we all may need to know a little less and wonder a little more so because people who wonder are rarely depressed or exhausted.
I used to think that living well was about having all the answers. I am a doctor after all, the more answers you had, the better life you could have. I no longer believe that. I believe the art of living is less about having the right answers than it is about having the right questions and sometimes the questions that help us live don't have definitive answers and you can carry one of these questions with you all your life finding answers. deeper and deeper as he grows in his ability to engage with life one of the cardiologists and one of my mystery groups told us the story of his father's death he was fifteen and his father was like this he was He was fifteen, his brother was 17 and at the time his father and he had Alzheimer's for at least 10 years and hadn't spoken in all that time so he's kind of a walking vegetable his mother had cared for the father very devotedly and as he grew his children growing up sometimes took an afternoon off to go shopping or meet a friend and they would take care of their father and the event happened on one of those Sunday afternoons they are sitting in their living room the two boys are 15 years old and 17 years old and they are watching football and day--a is sitting in a chair absolutely mobile looking into space and Mark told us that suddenly his father made a noise and grabbed his chest and he flung himself forward onto the collapsed rug and his two sons ran up to him and Mark said he knew something was terribly wrong because his dad was graying and having trouble breathing and sweating and his brother told him to dial 900 but before you could get up from the carpet a voice he could barely remember a voice he hadn't heard in 10 years said no son don't call at nine e-one tell your mom i love her tell your mom i'll be fine and then his father died at this time in the state in which this happened if someone dies suddenly like this you had by law had to have an autopsy and in the post his father's brain was almost completely destroyed by this terrible disease, for what to mark l and a question remained.
Who spoke? Hmm. He says that nothing he has read in any medical text has brought him closer to the answer, but carrying the question with him has changed him. He says. gives meaning to his work that the question of who spoke is present in his relationship with each patient his relationship with each human being that in the heart of each human being is a mystery that cannot be penetrated but only appreciated you know there is a question that i carry with me the way mark carries his question i have worked with cancer people for 25 years as their therapist so i have heard their stories often they are young often their stories are very very difficult and you know i have not been sustained in this work from my experience there is a question that sustained me that has no answer at all and the question is could there be an unknown purpose for life?
Could there be an unknown purpose to suffering? and this is a question to which I will never have an answer, but the very question sustains me and allows me to do this work with an open heart and so, for me, over time, living well is not about having all the answers, it's about the chance to chase unanswered questions in good company a couple of thoughts about more than anything else i believe the art of living is about recognizing our power to make a difference knowing that we matter whether we're sick or healthy or young or old the Most of us are unaware of our power to affect the lives of the people around us, often people think they need to be wealthy, educated or politically powerful to make a difference, but the reality is that there is a web of connection between us and we can make a big difference in people's lives just the way we are, most of us have made a big difference in people's lives much more than we we realize and can even affect the lives of strangers in powerful ways people whose names we don't even know one of my favorite stories about this was told to me by a colleague of mine her name is Elaine and her field is domestic violence and Elaine is a woman very small, she is about five feet tall and as delicate as a china cup she teaches at the University of Utah and her um her life has touched the lives of thousands of women through her workshops and her writing and her program TV all this and I went as a visiting professor to the University of Utah so I was having dinner and I looked at her across the table for the first time.
It occurred to me. How did you get into this field? She's such an unlikely person to be in such a violent field, so I asked her, and she was like, "Oh, Rachel, I used to." to be one of these women and she told me that her first husband who had been a very violent and angry man but had also been a pillar of the community had been professional and in public he had always treated her as a perfect gentleman so that no one would suspect that her personal life was a living hell, people really envied her marriage and like most abusers he had told her the abuse was her fault because of the stupid thing she said and the stupid thing she did and she kept trying you know that more and more is never enough for him and eventually over time she became so great that she came to believe that she deserved to be treated in this terrible way now it all ended abruptly on a corner in New York City that she and her husband were visiting they are standing on the corner waiting for the light to change and she looks across the street and sees a really beautiful Art Deco building and she turns to her husband and says honey or looks at that beautiful building and he thinking there only speaks to her in the tone of utter contempt that his sister reserved for their private conversation something like you idiot mean the yellow building anyone with eyes in the head would know that just like anyone else building across the street what are you talking about and her reaction was the same as she always had when he physically or emotionally abused her, she just fell silent, but a woman standing next to him, a perfect stranger also waiting for the light changed, she turned to him in disbelief and said um, what is that? a perfectly beautiful building she is absolutely right and you sir are a horse's ass and then the light changed and this complete stranger walked across the street he went on with his life but elaine told me this was epiphany this was the moment all her life began because she understood at that moment that she had never deserved to be treated this way, she understood what would have been happening to her in 7 and a half years of being married to this man and she believed Something very unknown arose in her, she described it as a Some kind of strength or some kind of dignity and I knew it was going to take time, it was going to take planning, but I was going to be able to find a way. to live this man right now this isn't even a story about Elaine this is a story about the stranger because if we were to go to New York City tonight find the woman and say sorry did you ever save her life tosomeone?
I think she would say yes of course, 20 years ago standing on the street corner waiting to watch. I don't think she said that. you look like a doctor we have all affected the lives of many more people than we know there is a web of connection between us that we may all be seen through the heart so they say something interesting about the art of living here i really learned everything I know about my mother, but also about people at the end of life. The vision from the end of life is much clearer than the vision any of us have tonight, you know, cancer particularly reduces life to its essentials and it's amazing how simple things become and how little matters and how much they really do those few things.
In the 25 years that I have been a doctor, a cancer therapist, no one has told me that if I die I will miss my Mercedes and practice in Marin County, cancer seems to help people understand that the Mercedes and lifestyle that they may have been following all their lives is really the silly prize and what is Matt what matters is simpler and more accessible to all of us what matters is who we have touched on our way through life and what who has touched us and what we left behind in other people's minds and hearts and I'd like to tell you one more story about a man who made a last minute discovery at the age of 45 George had patented a part of a medical inv mention correct and for over 20 years after this he was the CEO of a small but very successful company manufacturing and distributing these parts worldwide.
He was an excellent businessman and an astute investor. everyone and by most standards most people would have said he was leading an enviable life about six months before I met him in my office he had been diagnosed with colon cancer which was widespread at the time of his diagnosis, from what his doctors told him. that he didn't have much time his diagnosis had shaken him up a lot I hoped he was just depressed by the seriousness of his situation but he wasn't at all there were so many other things on his mind I wasted my life Rachel told me I have three ex-wives and five children I keep everyone but I don't know any I never took the time to meet them or meet anyone else I don't think there's anyone who is either you're going to miss me a d I leave nothing behind me but a lot of money and then he turned around and he wasn't sure but i thought his eyes had teared up now what George invented and that his company makes is part of this medicine device that has allowed people whose chronic illness was previously unmanageable to live almost normally and at that time another one of my patients used this device and it changed her life before the device was available she was homebound managing her symptoms it took t All her time she'd been unable to work, had no friends, literally couldn't live among other people, but as soon as the device was put in she got a job for the first time and there she started making friends and eventually met a a lovely man and i fell in love with him i married him and she had a lovely child what he told me when we met was the day i was given this device. brief ap I thanked her for a brief breach of privacy to tell a patient about another patient, but I thought maybe I could tell Stephanie I had a fit that I knew the man who created her device and maybe she could write him an anonymous note . she knew about her experience and when she found out that I knew the man whose invention had made the device possible, she wanted to meet him and asked if he would be willing to come to her house for dinner so she could show him what he was up to. he had made it possible. for her I told her that I would ask him.
George was really surprised that I knew someone who used his device. He had never met anyone and he was very touched that she wanted to meet him so he offered to take her and her husband to dinner at one of the most expensive and exclusive restaurants in San Francisco I don't think so so I told him and so it was found one night and George went to dinner at Stephanie's house now the week after this dinner he sat in my office shaking his head and wondering if he'd expected to have dinner with this young couple but when George arrived he was greeted by dozens and dozens of people Stephanie's family her friends her neighbors the entire community of people who had supported her in the years that she was disabled had decorated the little house with crepe paper and everyone had brought it was an extraordinary meal and a wonderful celebration but that It wasn't the important part.
Rachel George had told me that they had really come to tell her a story that each had a different part to tell and it took almost two hours to tell it and it was, of course stephanie and george life story he had cried most of the time and at the end stephanie came up to him and said this is really a story about you george we thought you needed to know and i needed to know rachel me he said he had tears in his eyes but he also had a question that started to come up and when he finished talking i asked George how many of these things do you do every year close to 10,000 he said he only knew the numbers Rachel had no idea what they meant so that in the end we can measure our worth and the value of our lives not by our knowledge not by our possessions but by our stories in the end our stories will bless us and allow us to finally know who we are what our true worth is and find peace with our lives thank you

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