Friday, June 22, 2012

Appreciation for Tegan

In my new role at a new company, I have been very fortunate to meet some wonderful people. This week I had a meeting with a lady who is helping me with financial numbers. Her name is Tegan and she has a face as lovely as her name. What I found out during our brief meeting is that she has as beautiful a spirit as well.

I waited for Tegan to get out of another meeting, I noticed a piece of paper taped to her cubicle wall. It had a picture of who I assumed was her family and the title, “Scott Niemuth Benefit”. I asked Tegan about the benefit and found a powerful story.

At age 50, her father Scott has recently been diagnosed with ALS. “Okay,” I thought, “he’s got a struggle in front of him, but that’s what makes life so worthwhile, overcoming struggles.” That’s what I thought, but I am wrong.

As Tegan bravely told me the story of his health struggles over a period of six months until he finally was accurately diagnosed, I could see the pain on her face, but her voice never wavered. She earnestly apologized that she would not be available on Fridays for a while so she could spend time with him on weekends. Finally I asked how the treatments are going. Completely composed, she told me there are no treatments. He visits a medical facility regularly just to understand how the disease has progressed, but in reality he has only 12 to 18 months left if they are lucky. I appeared more broken than she.

You see, I’m the guy who always looks for the silver lining, the lesson, the value in a bad situation. I’m the one who teaches my kids to recite the phrase, “There’s always a solution!” I’m the one who always believes there’s a bucker inside of each of us who can overcome anything we put our minds to.

 I’m the one who just learned there is no solution to this man’s struggle. After hearing the details of her father’s story, I shared the story with my wife. It helped both of us to gain further perspective on what is important in life. With 5 children age 11 and under, our days can get pretty stressed, particularly if we focus too much on what we want rather than what they want.

As I got ready for work this morning, I didn’t get angry about my 4-year-old who didn’t want to put on the shorts we picked out for him. I hugged him instead. As I drove into the office, I didn’t worry about being 3 minutes behind schedule or the long line of cars in front of me at the round-a-bout or even the driver who cut me off trying to get further in front of that line. Instead, I breathed in the cool fresh air, admired the glass look of the river, and listened to the sound of kids laughing and running down the river trail. Even though I was running late, I still stopped at my coffee shop, smiled at everyone who passed me and listened to the funny story from the girl making my coffee. Just before I reached the parking lot, I called my wife just to tell her how much I appreciate her.

These are the little things that could be taken from me at anytime and I thank Tegan immensely for helping me remember that! Her father has never met me and still he has impacted me. To help Scott and his family visit the following link:

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