Wednesday, February 29, 2012

Thank You, Dr. Olney

Through the years, CBS Sunday Morning has been one of my favorite television shows. I say that even though I rarely watch it. The program airs Sunday mornings (obviously), and because I habitually attend church Sunday mornings, I hardly ever see it.

(I know, I could have recorded it, but that would have required me to be organized. However, I recently discovered I can watch it online. Sweet!;snav)

What I love about this show is that it tells human interest stories. It’s not “hard news”; it’s people. It may inform, it may inspire, but it does so by telling someone’s story.

I recently watched a story about a doctor, Richard Olney, who spent decades treating and researching ALS (Lou Gehrig’s Disease) only to be stricken with the disease himself in his late fifties. (;contentBody)

As his speech faculties began to fail, he recorded his voice on his laptop saying phrases that he thought would be useful to him. He could click a button on his computer and it would broadcast his voice saying, “Good morning,” “Thanks for stopping by,” or “I have a speech problem.”

He also recorded a message for his wife: “I love you, Paula.” The same for his son and daughter.

It prompted me to wonder, “What phrases would I record if I knew I would lose the ability to speak?”

“I love you” is a good start.

“I’m sorry.”

“I’m proud of you.”

“Please and thank you.”

“I understand.”

“Sing me a song, please.”

“See ya later.”

“Don’t worry about it.”

“How may I pray for you?”

“Tell me more.”

On the heels of this mental exercise I read Luke 6:45: The good man brings good things out of the good stored up in his heart, and the evil man brings evil things out of the evil stored up in his heart. For out of the overflow of his heart his mouth speaks.

The words I speak are formed in my heart. So I’d better be sure my heart is filled with good things. Things like gratitude, kindness, compassion . . . Philippians 4:8 says, Finally, brothers, whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable—if anything is excellent or praiseworthy—think about such things.

Dr. Olney passed away recently. I hope I can learn from his story and chose my words carefully while I still can. Better yet, make right, excellent, and admirable words a natural overflow of what is in my heart.

1 comment:

  1. Oh Becky, you hit this one out of the ballpark. Funny thing...Rod and I are at the coast relaxing and we spent most of the morning discussing Phil. 4:8 and identifying in our lives people who exhibited those character qualities of rightness, purity, nobility, etc. So your blog just was icing on the cake! Thanks for sharing!