"Sometimes things just don't work out... - Advanced Prostate...

Advanced Prostate Cancer

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"Sometimes things just don't work out" aka. "The lemons are rotten and no amount of sugar will make lemonade"...LOL.

greatjohn profile image

**an interesting post I made on Facebook this morning. It might resonant with some of the people on here, so I thought I would share.


John Gamble

Just now ·

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Watching The Walking Dead today....the woman who was in charge (like mayor) of the city of "Alexandria" was wounded when the zombies got into the city. She was with Rick. He helped her get back into one of the homes...

as she was being nursed by another character...the nurse noticed bite marks on her abdomen. When Rick noticed, his face changed...and the "mayor" noticed. She then looked down and saw that it wasn't a simple wound, but rather a zombie "bite mark".

Her response....."Oh Shit"

Some moements are "oh Shit" moments...or as the GREAT minister & leader, Annette Jones, once said to me....

"John, Sometimes things just don't work out".

and I will add:

no amount of "positive attiude", prayers...optimism or denial will fix it...sometimes the lemons are rotten and will NOT make lemonade no matter how much sugar you add...

Those are "Oh, Shit" moments. When you can relax and enjoy fate.

On an interesting aside...so many posts now talk about "less is more" and how not having "clutter" will make you happier...and that you "can't take the stuff" with you when you die. At this poignant moment in my life...I will tell you my "things" ...my "clutter"....my "stuff" have brought me SO much more joy and happiness than you can imagine. Every piece brings back memories...reminds me of friends dead years ago...and make me feel GOOD. I'm so lucky to have always been happy. But I will say at this time of my life where HOSPICE is on speed dial in my phone....these things have been there for me much more than my actual living friends...they are there in the quiet hours of the morning....in the long shadows of early evening....Trust me...don't believe that you can find happiness by having an empy house....You'll find happiness by searching for it inside yourself...and every piece of clutter will spark joy in your heart if you're not so worried about a little dust forming on them. I'll go further to say that at this late stage of my life...learning about "stuff" and still collecting...STILL is what makes my heart sing. That and gardening. I fell down yesterday in the garden...flat on my ass (and it hurt). I had to wait for someone to help me get up...but after sleeping last night...I was out again this morning trimming some of my Ginger plants....enjoying being close to God.

Don't decide if you're happy because you smile so great in pictures on facebook when you're out for dinner with friends. Decide if you are happy if. you wake up in your bed...with no one talking to you...and you're happy. If you're all alone eating a bowl of soup in your kitchen....if you're watching a show you waited almost 12 years to start (for me, it was "The Walking Dead")....and you realize you waited to the exact perfect moment for the show to resonant to YOU.

Life is Beautiful. Shit happens.


75 Replies

Love this post, thanks! Especially this line:"You'll find happiness by searching for it inside yourself...and every piece of clutter will spark joy in your heart if you're not so worried about a little dust forming on them."

When you take a hike deep into the woods (like I did frequently on my recent vaca in Maine), what you are surrounded by is nature's clutter, covered with nature's dust. What a mess. And every bit of it is perfect. But it can only bring joy to those who open their hearts to the joy it can bring.

greatjohn profile image
greatjohn in reply to noahware

so well said...I feel I am with God when I am in the garden (or on a nature walk). I am reminded of a poem of my "Southern Baptist Roots"....."The Garden". ~~" I come to the garden alone, while the dew is still on the roses. And the voice I hear whispering in my ears....the son of God, discloses. And He walks with me and he talks with me and he tells me I am his own. And the joy we share as I tarry there, none other has ever known"

Shooter1 profile image
Shooter1 in reply to greatjohn

My very most favorite songs. Sung in my home often when my wife and I have morning time together.... Life is Good.

greatjohn profile image
greatjohn in reply to Shooter1

wow...I sing/hum it every time I am outside in the garden in the early morning (my favorite time there). I feed the birds and have several fountains that attract a lot. It's my "happy place". ~~~we even installed an outdoor shower and I love bathing with butterflies circling around me....and watching the birds & squirrels at the feeder from my shower. It's such an old fashioned song...I'm thrilled I'm not alone in it's admiration.gJ

Thanks GJ.

Thanks for sharing!

Great post, so true!

Hey Great John

Well said. BTW from you photo I can appreciate your stuff. Very cool and it radiates meaning. Peace to you brother

greatjohn profile image
greatjohn in reply to John-carp

every thing I have has a story...usually attached to a "last memory" of a dear friend who died back in the early 80s or early 90s of AIDS when everyone we knew was dying. We survived and I am in the 21st year of the 21st century. I am amazed. I am living the "miracle". I am at peace.

Dett profile image
Dett in reply to greatjohn

You and your husband survived one of the shameful times in our history. Who could have guessed back then that AIDS would become a manageable disease and that gay marriage would be legal. So glad you’ve found peace during this latest struggle.

greatjohn profile image
greatjohn in reply to Dett

We enjoyed (especially I enjoyed) every moment of the past 44 years together. It seems adversity and Being considered not normal and an outsider helped give us a sense of purpose. I don’t look back at those times as dark times as much as I look back at them “as just the way it was.” Every new freedom we got over the years and have a new ability we got to be more open about our life was just a blessing. The blessing of marriage came at a perfect time in our lives. Our ceremony was This year in January on our little Sparky’s birthday, January 14. But a long time ago,In June of 1979, after having been together for two years, we had an illegal wedding and even a honeymoon to New York City. It seems the adversity never held us back really. I am amazed and delighted to still be here!

Your treasures *are* the sugar to that rotten lemonade...peace be with you, John. 🕊️🙏❤️🕯️🦋🌱🌻

greatjohn profile image
greatjohn in reply to siouxbee19

"and with you". I feel such a sense of serenity in my alone time now. I do not feel alone, but rather a part of the bigger picture.

siouxbee19 profile image
siouxbee19 in reply to greatjohn

That is comforting to know...


Silly me. Before I read anything I saw the pic and assumed it was a "Where's Great John" pic. I looked for a few minutes trying to find your hiding place before reading. Great post.

monte1111 profile image
monte1111 in reply to GoBucks


greatjohn profile image
greatjohn in reply to GoBucks

I was hiding (behind my phone camera)...LOL. But If I had been sitting on one of the chairs...I'd probably be hard to find.

You are the best!

greatjohn profile image
greatjohn in reply to Canoehead

I wouldn't say that...but I try! My motto I teach everyone is "Be the BEST that YOU can be"

….are you still undetectable? I was noting your profile and when they did the radiation for oligomatastic (spelled wrong) I was thinking back early last year when I was doing the same thing...only my PSA never dropped but a little and then started climbing like crazy. I love your results!

Canoehead profile image
Canoehead in reply to greatjohn

John, thankfully yes. But my T never recovered very much after stopping ADT, so I’m probably getting some benefit from that. And every time I get my PSA tested I am still on pins and needles until I see the results. Praying for you, buddy. George

Now if piss would just happen.

In the movie Titanic, I have always hoped I would have the courage to be like the musicians who had played together all those years, who decided to sit down and live the music 🎶 as the ship started to go down. Loved your post.

greatjohn profile image
greatjohn in reply to NWLiving

One needs to follow the advice of a dear friend of mine‘s father. He said “I’m gonna live until I die“

Lulu700 profile image
Lulu700 in reply to NWLiving

Let’s play through! 👏🏼👏🏼👏🏼

Well, thank you for posting. Life in the garden IS close to God, isn't it. Very well put. Everything you say is deeply poetic and moving.

greatjohn profile image
greatjohn in reply to Anomalous

You’re too kind and I am sure are a beautiful soul.

I LOVE your posts greatjohn! I appreciate your humor-your insight-your humble gratitude-your puppy pictures-wonderful food pictures-and now your clutter picture and the value of it. This year I left my Christmas tree up until the middle of May. Hubby's request. It's full of ornaments that kids & now grandkids have made. We'd get an ornament whenever we'd travel somewhere. Completely full of dust when I took it down. Each a testament of a life well lived.

Life is beautiful. Sending love from Arizona. I'm grateful for you.

greatjohn profile image
greatjohn in reply to Yadifan

Every day should be Christmas in our hearts! Thanks so much for your kind words.

John you’ve kinda become a cult like hero on this site. Everyone of us waits for your next insightful, uplifting and elegant post. Always makes us think and that’s a good thing. Please try snd stick around for awhile. We need you….


greatjohn profile image
greatjohn in reply to Schwah

I’m speechless. Thanks so much 🥰

Indeed some wonder words. I don't feel so bad about how we live. If I recall Burl Ives sang that long ago and it still gets me humming from time to time. I just read about "divine action" we let God do as he pleases. It's all great if we can let him do it for us. Mike.

Wonderful post gj! As I dealt with the formidable issues post RP, I decided that “What the hell...” and took up skydiving at age 68. My first instructor asked me in my First Jump Course why, at that age, I wasn’t scared. I told him that everyone dies, but not everyone truly LIVES!You have been truly living!

Sisira profile image
Sisira in reply to Cancer2x

Beauty! Cancer2x

greatjohn profile image
greatjohn in reply to Cancer2x

Omg… Thanks so much and do a dive for me!

Cancer2x profile image
Cancer2x in reply to greatjohn

I will! I will make a sunset jump- like leaping into a painting here in New England (especially in the Fall!)

Thanks for sharing, well said.

Great post. Love your stuff. It's crazy how the simple things in our lives bring us peace and make us happy. For me it's the simplest of things that work. Walking through our woods, watching the wildlife and maybe a good movie. And for me a bowl of chocolate ice cream does the trick. Sooths and chills the pill poached throat, adds some energy to me system and slaps the healthy diet hoax that I feel doesn't much matter now. Bad attitude? Nah. Just makes my day and makes me feel like that kid again. Will it cut short the time that I have? I don't really see it. You know, at this time in my life it's the simplest of things that make me so happy. My wife see this and agrees. So 3 scoops please.

Sisira profile image
Sisira in reply to lincolnj8

Hey, lincolnj8......Simply the Best !

greatjohn profile image
greatjohn in reply to lincolnj8

Living the good life! Right up to the end. Enjoy the ice cream.

lincolnj8 profile image
lincolnj8 in reply to greatjohn

Absolutely!! Have a great day and enjoy a bowl of chocolate chip ice cream. A great breakfast pick me up

G.John,You have nearly conquered death! You see this world differently that others can learn something from you. This is what I admire in you most. Live to the last minute in the same spirit.

May the God bless you to be with us ever more!

greatjohn profile image
greatjohn in reply to Sisira

Blessings to you and thanks so much for your kind words

SUCH a beautiful and wise post. Thank you

I love your picture, especially the head busts! Just looking at the items in the picture reflects a warm, welcoming home. Your posts are always uplifting, even during difficult times. Chuck and I have always find peace in nature and in our home, especially when things are hard. Is ginger difficult to grow? I have a wonderful herb garden and love ginger. Never thought about growing it.

This is the Hawaiian type ginger that you see with the big bright red blooms. Growing the actual herb ginger roots I have never done. In Miami and Fort Lauderdale the ginger grows almost like a weed and just needs a lot of pruning. I think sometimes further north you can grow them in pots and then bring them into a patio or whatever when it gets colder. They don’t take freezes well. My other plant I have a lot of is banana trees which I’ve loved since I was a child.They also will not grow much North of Orlando.

I’m going to look into it. I’m in CA, near Sacramento. Hoping there is a variety that will grow out here in a pot. It does freeze in the winter, but really gets hot in the summer. Very smoky right now due to the Caldor fire, making gardening more difficult. My N95 mask helps. Sad to see Tahoe being evacuated. Lots of memories for us there.

You are my hero John. My Dad is in Hospice with metastatic prostate cancer, and seems to be at peace with his life also. God bless John….

Sending love and light to you and your father.

Reading your post is so refreshing! I am so tired of the minimalist police: like you, I like the objects in my apartment. I came back to New York last night after spending the summer in Europe and loved being with my things again. They are witnesses to happy or at least relevant moments in my life. Sending you hugs dear John.

greatjohn profile image
greatjohn in reply to Lousab

Thank you so much and welcome home!

John, you are so true with your antidotes. Your story has hit home. Sometimes things just don't work out, but hopefully we are in control. Enjoy your garden and all your memories. Brad

greatjohn profile image
greatjohn in reply to Psa73

Thanks Brad.

Hey Bud - Stuff - we need our stuff - every last little damn piece of it !

My things are: books - and books and books - everywhere. Every once in awhile I will load up a couple of crates and donate 100 or so to a pantry for their shelves - and yet somehow - the spaces on the shelves fill up again so quickly. I know so much info is " on line " but I still love to walk over to a shelf or pile and pick up something I have had for years and never read. Or re-read something ... some buddies and I are reading, once again, Adventures of Huckleberry Finn. I can't put it down. I have read it at least 3 times before - but reading it as an older man is a totally new - and wonderful - experience.

Also gardening - I live in Chicago but have created a New Orleans courtyard. It is lush and the water feature bubbles away - crowded with birds stopping for a drink or a bath. And on these hot humid days - it is at least 10 - 15 degrees cooler in the yard than on the street. My neighbor - who hates vegetation, just cemented over his back yard ... WTF ?

Also have a small herb garden - in the one unshaded spot and if anyone wonders if there IS a god, just chop some just picked basil ...

And pictures - and pots and little souvenirs of people and travel - the cleaning lady kind of takes a deep breath before she moves through - but that's what she gets paid for. She says she likes how it feels in the house ... I know she cleans several " empty " houses ...

thanks for a great post and an opportunity to once again count my blessings

oh yeah - psa is < 0.03

I love life - all of it


greatjohn profile image
greatjohn in reply to pjd55d

Oh my God, we’re a lot of like …I have tons of books and I never get rid of them though because I do often times reread them years later. Or, I just look at the cover and get reminded of what was in it…..Your garden sounds wonderful. It’s amazing what some trickling water sound will do to attract birds. Watching them be this one of my favorite pastimes.

pjd55d profile image
pjd55d in reply to greatjohn

after these posts - which are much better to read that what I am " supposed to do " ... pay bills - I had to listen to " That's Life " Frank is good - but I'm likin Willie better these days ... I am going to put the top down on the car and drive Lake Shore Drive !!!

greatjohn profile image
greatjohn in reply to pjd55d

That sounds like a great plan! Enjoy!

Great post John and who's the dame in the flamingo pink suit? Marilyn Monroe?

greatjohn profile image
greatjohn in reply to TomTom1111

That would be Norma Jean a.k.a. miss Monroe

Thank you for these reminders GJ. Paul

Thanks for your upliftng posts and keeping on keeping on! I too am thankful for every day that I wake up with my beautiful partner in our love nest. I have been blessed. I also know there are no guarantees for anyone and ask myself often if today is a good day to die. Most times the answer is yes. I have lived the good life and it is obvious that you have as well. What a journey eh!!!!

greatjohn profile image
greatjohn in reply to rocket09

All through my 40's I kept saying "Just shoot me...it can't get any better than this".....I actually continued saying it into my mid 50s....at 57...LOL...when I got "the cancer" I realized JUST how good it had been! Still...the last 8 years as the poster child for Prostate Cancer...(not really)...I have had the time of my life....trips to Iceland, Norways, Greece, Italy, and so many places I can't name...I had planned on Maine this Aug/Sept...but that's been nixed due to my blood being so crappy....and having to start Chemo again in a few days...but I will watch television shows about it and Alaska...so that I stay "cool" in the South Florida heat.gj.

It is a great thing John.

You’re an inspiration John. 🙏

In the "clutter" is a small bust sculpture of Abraham Lincoln. One of my favorites too. Your written words emancipate all of us to seek peace and understanding of the world around us. We are here for such a very short time.

Lincoln has always been my favorite president. His death (untimely) helped create the South's animosity towards the north. He had predicted this before he died. He had wanted to help the South go "gently" into the new age of post slavery. The "carpet baggers" saw to it that the surviving Southerners were alienated and stripped of as much dignity as possible.... If he had lived there would have been a lot more social justice in the 19th Century. The Lincoln memorial in Washington is one of my favorite places. ** I started collecting "heads" and "busts" while I had the antiques business...but I have liquidated some ....some of my favorite sculptures in bronze, marble, etc are of men doing manual labor. (blacksmiths, field hands, etc)

Reconstruction wasn't handled well after his death, no doubt.

Stuff!!! Wow do I have stuff...... My wife complains about what is she going to do with my stuff when I go to that comedy store in the sky? I tell her, That will be her problem.

Best sign I saw at a garage sale "Let our stuff be your stuff"......

Go greatjohn what caused you to fall in the garden (balance issue or just tripping?). Got to be careful. Thank you for your post....

BTW I collect door knobs......... Got any good ones?

Good Luck, Good Health and Good Humor.

j-o-h-n Monday 08/30/2021 11:16 PM DST

greatjohn profile image
greatjohn in reply to j-o-h-n

I have a Couple of beautiful old antique bronze door knobs that have been mounted as paper weights with marble bases. I love them. Keep laughing and enjoying stuff!

Thank you for this and other posts.

greatjohn profile image
greatjohn in reply to longleaf

Good luck to you and Mike on his journey. I hope the trial he’s in proves successful.

I didn’t know God was a ginger plant.

greatjohn profile image
greatjohn in reply to Pick44

Perhaps he’s whatever brings you the most pleasure! The big picture is a very big picture.

Pick44 profile image
Pick44 in reply to greatjohn

Unimaginably infinite yet personally intimate

That room isn’t full of stuff! It’s full of life and sooo much love Remember hearing that sayingHow time is wasted on the youth oh that is so true. Yes when we are young we enjoy everything but we don’t appreciate everything we don’t see all the little things that make life so

great. ❤️

Thanks! Well said.

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