By Greg Schmidt, hospice chaplain

Someone brought this enormous sack of candy into the office, and I can’t stop sneaking treats out of that #%@* bag! I know “tis the season” for eating sugar, but, come on people. I have diabetes, and I’m gonna lick myself into a grin-induced coma.

By the way, I’m not suggesting my inability to stop eating candy is anyone’s problem but my own. No one’s forcing me to sneak snacks. I’m fully aware of my need to stop reaching into that bag.

Which is kind of where we all are in life, isn’t it? Adam and Eve catch the blame for beginning it all, but we all know we just shouldn’t reach for some things. We all hear the same “hiss” or “voice,” look to our right, look to our left, get that wonky grin on our face, and reach out to grab exactly what we instinctively know isn’t good for us. And I’m not talking about food.

Perhaps the obvious thing we most need is more discipline. Note which word I emphasized in that sentence. What is maybe less obvious is that alongside having more discipline is the search for … wait for it … wisdom. Some would say Adam and Eve’s original sin was the pursuit of that ever-elusive wisdom. Personally, I don’t think so. I think they simply wanted what they wanted, and that was to be equal with God. They’d gotten to know Him while walking in the cool of the garden and must have really liked what they saw.

How often does it really work to see all that glitters and sparkles, and decide to go for the quick fix? Never? My experience is that the rarest and most precious and truly life-shaping realities of this life take a lot of time and a lot of wisdom to discover, and almost ALWAYS rise and fall based on who I’ve followed and learned from along the way.

Get it? Life is about how much I’ve poured into it, and who has been feeding and guiding me.

Let’s apply that to the decisions we make as we near the end of life, regardless of the reason. What I’ve witnessed as a hospice chaplain is that most families would rather not talk about death, much less the need for hospice care. Knowing we’re all going to die doesn’t seem to stimulate our desire to talk about it. Death, like heaven, is a great mystery. Perhaps that uncertainty is what stifles our desire to talk much about. And some cultures and families have an even greater determination to avoid the topic than others.

So here’s the GOOD NEWS! No one is forcing you to. You have a choice! You will hear “voices” whispering and hissing all sorts of things regarding hospice care in the city of Wichita and its surrounding counties. But the fact of the matter is that you get to choose (a.) what kinds of discussions about end of life realities you listen to, and (b.) who it is that informs those realities!

My simple concern is related to timing. When? When is the right time to choose who you want to inform you about what are and what are not the important realities you need to know about death and dying and what hospice has to do with it. I can tell you that waiting until the last 2-3 days is NOT the answer. Your FREE hospice benefit allows you to receive 6 months of care! So again, when?

You can reach for what glitters and sparkles and go for the quick fix. You can “do what’s always been done” and not search for greater quality or greater care. You can “not have to think about it.” And you’ll get exactly what you aimed for. Or, you can invest some time and energy to discover for yourself what it means to experience the difference choosing the right hospice can make in your life, and perhaps equally as important, the life of your family.!

Our team at Heart and Soul Hospice would love to be invited to your home and talk to you and your family about the difference we can make in one of your life’s most precious choices. No one’s forcing you, but please do consider reaching out to us and let us help you experience the difference Heart and Soul can make in your living.