Category Archives: Suffering

‘Prophylactic’ Suicide

Many of us who are still in good health have decided . . . that at some point we will not wish to cope with the diminishment of our lives, the narrowing choices, the prospect of both physical and intellectual decay. When that point comes, we’ll go out. Deciding just when should be the choice…

The Beauty of Imperfection

The primary cause of mental illness, Karl Menninger said, is the inability of people to forgive themselves for being imperfect. Those words came from Frank Griswold, the former Presiding Bishop of the Episcopal Church, preaching at Saint Luke’s this morning. He was speaking of St. Paul, who sought famously to perfect himself through a rigorous…

Two Words and a Wedding

  Tonight I will officiate at my second wedding in a week. I like weddings, but I always struggle with what to say. At baptisms, the parents in the front pews listen even though they’re often tussling with older siblings of the one in white. At funerals, people listen intently. Their stare—both skeptical and desperate—says:…

Lay My Burden Down

“Come to me all who are weary and heavy laden and I will give you rest. For my yoke is easy and my burden is light.” I read this passage to my congregation yesterday, surely some of the most sublime words ever to pass Jesus’ lips. But instead of my talking and talking about those beautiful…

Move On

The stories people tell at funerals. We were burying Christine, a woman who would soon have been ninety. A good friend, Donna, remembered how she complained and whined to Christine about some recent changes in church worship, and after a few weeks of this Christine just said, “Get over it. Move on.” Donna was stunned:…