Pain at Christmas

MangerChristmas is a time for joy. It’s the wonder in a child’s eyes, the family you don’t get to see any other time of year, and the celebration of the best Birthday of all!

But for some, Christmas is anything but joyful. A friend of mine lost his mother this past February, and he’s dreading this first Christmas without her. Add to that the fact that his father is very ill and may not be alive when Christmas does come this year. Christmas just won’t be the same for him.

Another friend of mine was looking forward to spending Christmas with her first grandchild for the first time. Sadly her grandson was stillborn, so instead of joy at baby’s first Christmas there are empty hearts and an empty crib.

Continue reading...
The Fragility of Trust

The Fragility of Trust

Trust takes a long time to build. And it can be lost in a moment. The fragility of trust is amazing.

Sitting in the airport not long ago, I couldn’t help overhearing one side of a phone conversation. A tall, good-looking man, about 30, was on his cell-phone – sobbing. He seemed oblivious to the crowd around him, and made no effort to keep others from hearing his conversation. He was obviously speaking with the lady in his life, pleading with her to “work things out.” The pain in his voice and his shameless tears almost made those of us nearby uncomfortable: we were witnessing a young man in real torment.

Trying to piece things together, this young man was apparently in the middle of a business trip. In the past he had done something to break trust with his wife, perhaps an affair, or drinking too much. While on this trip something had happened to re-open that old wound – perhaps he had not “checked in” at the expected time. She was angry. He was hurt. Each was accusing the other. It was tragic, and incredibly painful.

Continue reading...

Run – or Pray?

Two GirlsTwo little girls walked to school every day. (Yes, once upon a time they really did that!) On this particular morning they were enjoying the pleasant sun more than usual. Suddenly it occurred to them that they were going to be late: the bell would ring and they would be marked tardy.

One little girl said to the other, “We’re going to be late! Let’s kneel down and pray.”

“No,” said the other. “Let’s pray while we run!”

As a physician and a minister I see both extremes:

Continue reading...

5 Steps to Staying Present

Autumn LeafThere’s more than one way to leave. And we do it all the time.

Whether it’s a job, parenting, church, or marriage, being present is a first step to anything good. You’ve got to show up! And that means showing up with more than your physical body.

I’ve seen it in my medical practice. A sixteen-year old girl comes to see me as a gynecologist for some medical care, accompanied by her mother. But during the entire visit her mother is on her cellphone with “a client.” Daughter is anxious, scared, and angry. Can you blame her? Was mother really present?

An employee clocks in at the scheduled start of the workday, but it’s forty-five minutes later before any work gets done – after applying makeup, catching up with a coworker on last night’s movie, and a couple personal phone calls. Did they show up to work on time?

Husband and wife plan to spend the evening together. He

Continue reading...
5 Laws You CANNOT Make

5 Laws You CANNOT Make

Laws and GavelOne would think that legislators couldn’t come up with any more laws regulating anything else.

Until they do!

Are there any limits, any laws you cannot make? Everything we do, every activity we touch, has laws controlling it: How fast you can drive. How big the letters on employment posters must be. The specific wording on cigarette packs. The language on food labels. How many minutes a school day includes. The size of shampoo bottle you can carry on an airplane.

Those laws, rules, and regulations we’ve become accustomed to. I’m all for public safety, and perhaps the majority of these laws are truly beneficial. But then we get to some laws that are truly pushing the edge of sanity: How large a soda you can sell/buy. How much profit certain companies can make. What kind of contraception you have to pay for – for someone else.

Continue reading...