December 13, 2017

People need friends, not fixers

My job is not to fix you. Nor you me. Nor is it our collective calling to fix one another. To be “our brother’s keeper” does not mean that we are responsible to do for our brother what he can only do for himself by God’s grace. This is one of those areas where American […]

Dispatches from the Wilderness of Grief

Dispatches from the Wilderness of Grief Scottsdale, Arizona. Dec. 5, 2016 This week I am in Scottsdale, AZ attending a training given through The Center for Loss and Life Transition and presented by Dr. Alan Wolfelt. Dr. Wolfelt is a grief counselor and one of North America’s premier authors and educators in the area of grief and loss. […]

Clinical Depression vs. the Rich Tapestry of Human Experience

Yesterday’s comments prompted me to do some thinking, especially about one of the questions — “Does depression ever have a useful purpose?” My first inclination is to say, “No,” at least when we are speaking of clinical depression. There are different types of clinically diagnosed depression, and they all represent organic ailments that can disrupt life and lead […]

Another Look: I Still Struggle to Speak of 9/11

Note from CM: I wrote this 5 years ago, on the tenth anniversary of the attacks on 9/11/2001. I don’t have any easier time talking about it today. • • • On Tuesday morning, September 11, 2001, I ate breakfast with the pastor with whom I used to work as an associate. We met at […]

Mother Teresa Needs No Defending

Many more people are poor and sick because of the life of MT: Even more will be poor and sick if her example is followed. She was a fanatic, a fundamentalist, and a fraud, and a church that officially protects those who violate the innocent has given us another clear sign of where it truly […]

Another Look: The Font and the Tiny Casket

Note from CM: This week I am attending a Resolve Through Sharing (RTS) conference at a local hospital, focusing on providing bereavement care for families who suffer perinatal death (death in the period before or shortly after birth). The stories I’ve been hearing from nurses and other health professionals, as well as the bereaved parents […]

Shirley

One of our team members said that Shirley “died of loneliness.” She had family, and whenever I met them they seemed to be attentive to her. I never heard her speak a word against them. But none of them were able to care for her in her final season of life. When Shirley first came […]

“All them 1001 deaths have taught me”

I work with people who are grieving. Grief is our human response to loss. We normally use the word to speak of someone who’s lost a loved one through death, but grief is bigger than that. Much more fundamental to the experience of daily life than that. In fact, we might think of life itself […]

Make the Way by Walking

Note from CM: My work requires me to be around death and dying people every day. That means I am also with the people from whom these loved ones’ lives are being torn. From one perspective, life is a series of losses and we all find ourselves bereft. Therefore, the simple human ministry of supporting […]

Another Look: Chris

The chaplain stood in front of Chris’s casket and nodded as mourners filed by. Glancing around, he saw a flower arrangement behind him with an interesting note on it: “From your friends at Green Lake Campground.” It was striking to him that owners of a campground would send such a lush bouquet and that it would be displayed […]