Archive for Hope

An Intruder to Hope

Our job, so said the doctor, is to not take away hope.

That was how a physician summarized the reasons for decisions made about a hospice patient.

Hope?

Hope . . .

Hope floats.

Hope springs eternal.

Always look on the sunny side.

Hope is passion for what is possible.

However long the night, the dawn will break.

Let your hopes not your hurts shape your future.

When you’re at the end of a rope, tie a knot and hold on.

I could continue the quotes, clichés, and truthful longings. Do you have a personal mantra for hope? One of the more familiar (and a favorite I’ve happily used) is Emily Dickinson’s, “Hope is the thing with feathers that perches in the soul and sings the tune without the words and never stops at all.”

So, what were the decisions made or considered by the doctor for the patient? Read More →

Facebooktwittergoogle_plusredditpinterestlinkedinmailby feather

From the Mouths (and Gift Cards) of Children

The nine-year old kid wanted to give a newly born cousin a present by using the gift certificate he’d just received.

But I’m cynical and suspect people (even kids with ages based on single digits) have an agenda—usually a self-serving agenda—when they help others.

The nine-year old kid wanted to give a newly born cousin a present by using the gift certificate he’d just received. The certificate was for $20 and would allow him to buy anything at the local Walmart store.

Yeah, but this likely me-first little kid probably didn’t like stuff at Walmart and was only dumping an unwanted gift on the family of his unsuspecting infant cousin.

The nine-year old kid wanted to give a newly born cousin a present by using the gift certificate he’d just received. The certificate was for $20 and would allow him to buy anything at the local Walmart store. The boy had received the gift card, along with a basket of other goodies, from the Make-A-Wish Foundation.

Any-who, I’ve lived into my sixth decade and have witnessed or read about everything. There’s nothing much—good or bad, joyful or perverse—that surprises me anymore. Read More →

Facebooktwittergoogle_plusredditpinterestlinkedinmailby feather

Christmas Promise

On a long-ago Christmas Eve, I did my last visit to a patient as a hospice chaplain.

I was honoring a promise.

All I did was hold a hand in a dark bedroom while storm clouds trudged across the night sky. In the nearby houses, seasonal lights flickered in the rain, inflatable Santas and snowmen waved their greetings, and outdoor ornaments sparkled as the gusting wind teased them.

In the patient’s room, it was quiet.

In the patient’s room, she now mostly slept.

I’d already started working as a church’s “new minister.” It had been a tough decision to leave hospice—an intimate ministry—for a mid-sized church with hundreds of members, a sprawling budget, and endless obligations. So many decisions are a combination of guesses, selfish and selfless reasons, and trying to do the right thing at the right time of life. I didn’t know then (and I don’t know now all these years later) if it was the best choice . . . but it was my faithful risk to say “yes” to serve a congregation.

Some of those “endless obligations” during the first days of church work were the Christmas Eve services. There I would preach. There I’d read the ancient stories of Jesus’ birth. There I’d seek to connect an old, familiar tale to the daily hurts and hopes of modern folks. There I’d help a congregation light candles and proclaim the “light of the world.” Read More →

Facebooktwittergoogle_plusredditpinterestlinkedinmailby feather