The work in front of you.

On Tuesday, I talked about going around to bless the hands of nurses. I put oil on 98 pairs of hands. I looked into 98 pairs of eyes. And I told NICU nurses that at least some of us know how much they love the babies.

You can read what I told the rest of the nurses in tomorrow’s newsletter at I’d love for you to subscribe for free.


In the next few days, I’m writing a graveside service for one person, a eulogy for another, an introduction to a conference panel that’s talking about “What I wish I knew in my 30s, 40s, and 50s.” I’m writing a couple posts, working on a prayer and a sermon. (Fortunately, I’ve already written the newsletter for tomorrow.) I’m writing notes on papers for a class I’m teaching, and on Friday I’ll listen to short sermons from those students and give them feedback.

I want to write about the moral injury that clergy, among others, suffered during the pandemic. I listen to Jamie Ivey talking to Tish Harrison Warren about grief and loss and I want to write a good sentence.

One really good sentence.

In the meantime, I will write lots of sentences because it’s what I do to help.

But here’s the thing. I don’t believe that if I can write, anyone can.

That’s the advice that we hear often. Too often. If I can do this, anyone can. If I can build a business or recover from adversity or get over grief or write several hundred words in a short time, anyone can.

That’s not true.

Particularly if that desire meant that you quit having the conversations you are having with the people that only you care for. The conversations that I cannot ever have with them.

Or you aren’t building a business because you are giving every moment of creativity and compassion to one person who cannot care for themself.

Or you aren’t making social media posts on every platform because you are putting energy into breathing.

I can, at this point in my life, with a few decades of experience and an uncomfortable amount of anxiety, assemble some helpful sentences that help you remember J and bury D and, right now, turn back to the work (or rest) in front of you say, “This is what I’ll do to help.”

And may God bless your heart and hands as you do that work.

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