This I Believe

Carl - Greenville, South Carolina
Entered on November 27, 2006
Age Group: 65+

I believe my relationships with others adds more satisfaction to my life than anything else. The longer I live the more strongly I believe that. As I look back over my life, how barren it would have been without the meaningful relationships I have had with so many good people!

Through out life I have been very involved with church. There, like everywhere else, there have been people with faults, weaknesses, and addictions. Yet, in spite of that I have been associated there with some of the finest people in the world.

At mid-life, the value I placed on relationships led me to become a professional counselor. In those relationships the people I counseled with were willing to share their most intimate struggles and dreams. Working with them as they worked to solve their problems and achieve a better life was a unique privilege! As I shared in their struggle it was such a joy when they made progress or achievements.

The relationships that had the most impact on my life have been those with my family. In the 58 years my wife and I have been married we have had our share of conflicts. At times there have been temptations to be intimate with someone else. There were also the challenges of rearing four children, especially of getting them through the teen years. Yet, we managed to weather the storms!

Today we face new challenges as my wife has dementia. She has difficulty understanding anything I tell her. It is almost impossible to understand much of what she tells me as she cannot remember so many of the words she wants to use. My patience is being tested as never before! Yet, she is always cheerful and nothing ever upset her. She is no longer able to do any of the cooking or house cleaning. At times she cannot recognize who our sons are. Perhaps she could not tell you my name but she recognizes me and delights in being with me. She always “lights up” when I pick her up at the end of the day she spends in day care. Often, for no reason, she puts her arms around me and says, “I just love you!”

Regardless of what I might achieve, the honors I might be given, or the wealth or possessions I might accumulate, none of it would mean much to me without someone to share it with! I believe that none of those kinds of accomplishments could ever have meant as much to me as the relationships I have had and continue to have with others! My life has been richly blessed by those I have come to love and those who have come to love me.