We are always being asked questions . But what about the questions that change our lives.
I was once asked such a question as a young man. The question was asked one eventful day during a shift I worked as a student nurse in a geriatric ward.
You see, as part of my responsibilities, I had a ward of several elderly men who where all unique in their own way, and some of these gentleman took a lot more care than others, and some were a lot grumpier than others.
Others Would Avoid
A lot of nurses, quite frankly, did not enjoy working with these men and would try to avoid spending any more time there then they had to.
On the contrary, I took the opposite tack attending to the needs of these men.
Instead of just doing what I had to do to make them comfortable, giving them necessary treatments, blood pressure and temperature readings, baths, and supplying medication as ordered, I would finish all the required responsibilities and then stay in the ward. I spent a lot of time talking, joking, just good old give them attention beyond what they needed time.
After all, these men could not walk or get around, they had few visitors, and were generally left to spend their days just watching TV, sleeping, or complaining to anyone who stepped foot into the ward. So, I became the main target of their pent up mental energy and honestly, I had a lot of fun.
But, beyond establishing a great rapport with these men, there was one gentleman I spent a lot of time talking with. He wasn’t at first appearance much different than the rest but he had a wicked sense of
humor and a grand spirit about him.
The Question That Changed My Life
One day, after all necessary nursing tasks were done and I stayed with them, he called me over to his bedside. At first thinking he was about to unleash a tirade of quips and fancies, I was ready. Instead, he beckoned me even close so he could obviously speak very quietly to me out of earshot of the other man.
Life Changing Question
In a soft voice just above a whisper, he asked,
“What do you want to be remembered for after you die ?”
I was somewhat taken back thinking immediately that he was in physical distress and required emergency medical attention. I quickly asked, “What’s wrong – what are you feeling – are you having a problem breathing?”
“No, no, no, nothing like that”, he whispered. “I want you to think about just what I said. What do you want to be remembered for after you die?
I Didn’t Understand
“I don’t understand what you are asking me”. I said confused.
“It really is a simple question but an important question. How do you want people to think of you when you die? Do you want to be known for your humor , for your caring, for helping others no matter who they are, or do you want to be remembered as a person of status,
wealth, spending big money on a house, fancy car, long vacations or possessing the latest doodads?
I know I probably sounded like a babbling idiot to him at this time because I couldn’t give him a well thought out answer at all. I still remember feeling uncomfortable because I had no clear answer to give.
A Question Worth Thinking About
Over the years, we may all face this important question. It may be a question that comes to you because of a tragic circumstance, or it may come to you after you have observed or witnessed other people stepping up to many needed issues and taking on great odds to change societal obligations.
It may be a question you ask in later years when you finally realize that you won’t live forever. Or, it may also be a question that you may never want to ask yourself because you are too caught up in enjoying the materialistic side of life.
Think About The Answer
Is it time for you to ask, “What do you want to be remembered for after you die?