This week my friend, Lee Moczygemba, called to tell me I’d been on her mind, a lot, and she apologized for not calling sooner. I haven’t stopped thinking about our conversation or that she will be 97 in a couple of months.
Her phone call made me feel good, and I thought it was worth sharing with you.
Lee began by telling me she wanted me to know she’d been praying for me, because she thought I might have been unhappy being alone during Covid. When I told her I’m at a great point in my life, and I’m happy and healthy, she said, “It thrills me to death to know you’re happy, because you have the biggest heart, and you’re so brave. I hope you continue to be happy, because when we’re happy, we inspire those around us.”
I’m telling you this because Lee is the one who’s inspiring and generous. You may remember her from an interview we did when she was only 94. She is one of those people who are a joy to be around.
When I asked how she’d been doing during the Covid shutdown, she said she’d had pneumonia, but she’d begun venturing out and having lunch with friends. “But I don’t want to talk about me, she said. “I’ve been living with these things in my head, and I want to tell them to you.
“Enthusiasm is one of the most priceless gifts God gives us, and I see that in you,” she said. “It’s an integral part of your charm. I hope you appreciate yourself.”
Her sweet words were in sharp contrast to the last year and a half I’ve spent, writing about a time in my life when I didn’t value and appreciate myself. I had taken the batteries out of my flashlight so I couldn’t see the monsters lurking under the bed. I’d put them in a box and closed the lid and hidden them in the back of my emotional closet. As I think about that time it’s clear my self-worth revolved around being the wife of a man who was revered and respected, and I did whatever he wanted me to do with no regard to my needs or what was best for me. As the years passed there were times, too numerous to count, when I should have died, literally, because I didn’t value myself enough to get out of this dangerous relationship.
“I wish everyone could appreciate their gifts,” Lee went on to say. “God blessed us with a brain, an imagination and a creative drive. We have the ability to get up and do something every day that will create a life richer than we could ever have imagined for ourselves.
And then she said, “I’m so proud to be 96, and I’m determined to live to be 100.
“I wish everyone was comfortable with their age, and they could hold on and fight for what they have left, instead of feeling sorry for themselves about what they have lost.”
We all need friendships like Lee’s, people who tell us we’re special instead of showering us with negativity. Perhaps we can use Lee’s phone call as an example of how to make someone else feel good. It’s the best way I know of making ourselves feel good at the same time.