Practical thoughts from a hospital chaplain

Life goes on. And so does death. Even without viruses, we have death. Even with them, we have life.


If you don’t have a person designated as your health care representative, please designate, on the form that is legally acceptable in your state or locality, the person that you want to represent your decisions when you cannot represent yourself. If you have been together for twenty years but haven’t gotten around to marriage, or are “like family” but aren’t, and you want that person to represent you, put it in writing.

Otherwise, as I see regularly, someone who doesn’t know you, or perhaps doesn’t like you, may have the legal standing to represent you.


Grief is the response to loss. And because of cancellations, there is a lot of loss. If you are my age and you remember that one time your brass ensemble won a blue ribbon at a music competition, and it was a highlight of your music career as a tuba player, consider what it means to prepare for that and then not have the opportunity. When competitions and concerts are cancelled, first dates are changed, celebrations of the family member who loved going to the concert are missed. The geographic and group-bound moments you remember as transformational may not be happening for people you care about. So care for them. The loss is real. And so is the grief.


Laughing is delightful. It’s freeing. It’s relaxing. But not when it’s actually mocking. And pointing out how ignorant people are is almost always mocking.


At the end of his life, when Paul knew that he was going to be killed, he still said, “The Lord will rescue me from every evil attack and will bring me safely to his heavenly kingdom. To him be glory for ever and ever. Amen.”

He wasn’t naive. He’d seen a lot. But he was quietly convinced.

See you on Monday.


First published March 13, 2020.

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