Spirit Matters

Fishing For Souls

I think it was Jesus who encouraged followers to become “fishers of men.” Honestly, that task seems easier than fishing for fish.

Fishing requires a level of patience I don’t have. You’ll see this if you ever watch me pace the stage during one of my talks.

I was recently reminded of my distaste for fishing when I took my grandsons and their parents on a fishing boat in Seward, Alaska. We were fishing for the big halibut we’d seen people bring home the day before, 90-pound prehistoric monsters.

Dignified Ends

As a hospice chaplain, I’ve learned a surefire way to bring down any conversation. I just mention what I do.

“Oh, that must be a really sad job,” is the familiar response.

“It can be sad,” I admit. “But most often it’s the opposite.”

Folks sometimes respond with a confused look, perhaps like you’re doing now.

Give A Little

If you’re fighting cancer or some other chronic disease, I owe you an apology for breaking the promise I made in 2009.
That was the year I served as chaplain in the Air Force field hospital in Balad, Iraq. Every two weeks there, I took the morning to donate blood platelets.

“What are platelets?” you ask.

Here’s what the Red Cross says: “Platelets are the tiny cells in your blood that form clots to stop bleeding.”

Untie Me

I’m hoping whoever reads this is looking for a job, specifically a hospice chaplain position.

I currently hold the title, but am eager for my employer to hire a replacement so I can retire—again.

The right candidate must be an approachable and caring person, unlike the man I interviewed some years ago. He arrived wearing a suit and became offended when I told him our hospice chaplains leave their clergy trappings at home.

“Why?” he asked.

Heard It All Before

People in my line of work get used to reruns. That’s not to say I’ve heard it all before, but stuff has a way of repeating itself when you’ve been a chaplain for a few decades.

Another thing I get accustomed to: clichés, especially those derived from biblical passages. Some I love. Others, not so much. Here’s a list of several unhealthy clichés:

Not So Good

I occasionally get emails from readers who reminisce about the good old days. They hope I’ll commiserate with them about how horrible the world has become.

One reader blamed the fall of America on the entertainment industry. “Back in my day, ‘The Andy Griffith Show’ led the way in promoting wholesome values,” he wrote. “Today’s shows promote violence and sexual promiscuity.”

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