My precious parrot, Pearl, offering his appreciation of the pretty parrot reflected in the shiny cover art for Kerry Egan’s “On Living.”

In the book I’ve been reading lately, “On Living” by Kerry Egan, she shares so many powerful stories – each story another parting gift from a hospice patient who literally never knew when a newly arriving day might be their last.

What a profound way to live!

In a sense, I guess we all live that way, each and every day.

But as I read this book, I get the feeling that only hospice patients really know this.

Sometimes I realize it, like when I am faced with a choice to work more to earn more money or to go spend the day with a loved one and earn no money.

On the one hand – money. Income, rent.

On the other hand – love. Connection, moments that make life feel like worth living (and earning rent money) for.

Near the end of “On Living,” author and hospice chaplain Kerry Egan shares a story about a patient she calls Linda.

Linda had no short-term memory. Literally. Events from decades past were preserved in her mind like precious heirlooms, but a new face could be forgotten in as little time as it took to leave the room and return again.

On the day Egan arrived, Linda was resting in bed. When asked, she explained that she spent her days trying to “be loveful.”

She shared:

We shower so much love on babies and children. But as we grow up, it stops. No one showers love on grown-ups. But I think we need more love as we get older, not less. Life gets harder, not easier, but we stop loving each other so much, just when we need love most. I need more love now that I’m so old.

She then went on to say:

One day, when I was lying here, I realized how old God is. He is so old. He must need so much love. People are always demanding so much from him, but who is there to shower him with love? So I thought that was something I could do. That’s what I do all day: I try to love God….I can lie here and love God and maybe it will help him.

This is the kind of story that I find impossibly inspiring on days I have the energy to be inspired, and impossibly irritating on the days I don’t.

Luckily, I read it on one of the former days, and it made me realize that there is always a way to help. There is always something we can do.

We don’t have to be brave, able-bodied, or even of particularly sound or sane mind to contribute to the good.

We can be love-ful.

We can love.

We can be the very love that we need.

Today’s Takeaway: Have you ever gone through an experience that has left you feeling unable to give, to contribute, to be a part of in some significant way? What helped you get through that time? What do you remember about your journey?