Where is Peace?
How can I write a blog about peace in these troubling times? Everywhere I look, I find unrest, conflict and violence. Everywhere I listen, I hear angry name-calling, truth denied and lies uplifted. God’s got it right when he chastises the prophets and priests in Jeremiah’s time, saying, “Peace, peace they say, when there is no peace” (Jeremiah 6:14). But...
Learning Life Lessons at the Knees of the DyingThis blog is the second in a series of reflections from the 3rd annual Symposium with Dr. Ira Byock on October 12, 2018, Abundant Aging Through the End of Life.
After coming home from United Church Homes’ Ruth Frost Parker Center for Abundant Aging’s 2018 Annual Symposium
, featuring keynote Dr. Ira Byock
, my husband and I went to Ann...
Good death. Isn’t that an oxymoron? Can death ever be good? When I asked a fellow pastor, he said, “Absolutely not. Death is the opposite of life; it’s an enemy.” That’s true. When my grandmother went into the hospital for a routine procedure on her heart, the doctor accidently pierced her heart. Afterward, she had a stroke, so my family...
Moving to an Assisted Living Community
No one ever dreams of moving into an assisted living community. People plan on retirement and often plan on living in their homes until their death. But then an accident occurs or physical disabilities arise with aging, and suddenly the reality of needing assistance changes their plans to age in place. For many, moving into an assisted living community feels...
People First: Residents Living with Dementia
I have attention deficit disorder and high blood pressure. I do not want people to introduce me as an ADD and high blood pressure chaplain. My mother developed vascular dementia due to cardiac problems following surgery. I do not want people to refer to my mom as a dementia person. We all have symptoms, disorders, even diseases, but they don’t...
Aging Hero: Lottie Allen, Graceful One
When I grow up, I want to be like Lottie Allen. Lottie Allen was a resident at United Church Homes' Pilgrim Manor
. Lottie moved into our health center when she was 91. Until that point, she was feisty, independent and living alone. However, as her dementia progressed, she had difficulty taking her medications and handling day-to-day life on her...
Humble Heroes: Thumbs Up for AARP’s 2018 Movies for Grownups Award Winner ‘Dunkirk’
In the past, I didn't consider myself a war movie enthusiast. But that was before I became a chaplain in a retirement community
where I host a monthly veteran’s group. Most of the veterans served during World War II. Each time a new veteran joins the group, each one shares some of their own war experiences. As they told...
Spirituality of Gratitude
When I was a new pastor visiting congregational members in the hospital, I was surprised when some would deny pain or brush aside comfort. Instead, they would say, “I’m just grateful I have life,” even though they were grappling with cancer, serious diseases or debilitating pain. At first, I viewed their gratitude suspiciously. Was it just a pat answer to...
Wow! The Spirituality of Wonder
I was driving home last week and was awestruck by a winter sunset. My breath hitched and I gasped, “Wow!” as my eyes traced the purple, orange and pink clouds swirling in an intricate dance. For a few minutes, my mind quieted from review of the day, plans for dinner and the latest divisive and adversarial talk coming from Washington,...
People We Lean On
Is thanksgiving only a day? Just one week after Thanksgiving, Christmas lights, Christmas lists and Christmas music are here. But thanksgiving is not only a day. Instead, thanksgiving can help us grow spiritually, communally and personally. It brings a heightened understanding of the importance of the people we lean on. This past month, I used Rev. Laura Stephens-Reed