Recent Articles

The Routine of Chronic Suffering


For the first few months, when people saw me struggling with my pain, it startled them, eliciting compassion and deeds of caring. But when months turned into years, my pain became routine for them. Intellectually they acknowledged what they knew—that nothing in my health had changed—since I always used a cane or a walker and never participated in social events that required mobility.

Go And Be There


Jesus tells us, “Love your neighbor,” and he does not add: “when you feel like it.”

Deanna Thompson, Professor of Religion at Hamline University in St. Paul, Minnesota, has written a book about her journey with Stage IV breast cancer. The title of her book is Hoping for More: Having Cancer, Talking Faith, and Accepting Grace

In her book Deanna talks about the importance of being there for a friend who is suffering. Following is one example she gives:

How does one cope when one is the full time caregiver of a spouse with a chronic illness?


I asked a friend, Nancy, to respond to this question and also to describe some of her daily challenges:

The “uneventful everyday” is a mixed blessing when caring for a person with a chronic illness, in my case caring for a person with Parkinson ’s disease (PD). One person described living with PD was like trying to drive with the brakes on.

How can we care for those who are terminally ill?


Margaret Vermeer served as a missionary in Nigeria. When she was seven months pregnant, she received the report that a biopsy of a small tumor was malignant. Five weeks after the surgery to remove the tumors, she gave birth to a son, then began chemotherapy and radiation treatments. For two years she had a miraculous remission, but then gradually more tumors appeared.

Chronic Pain?


After I’d been out of commission for a few months, my pastor made a passing reference to “these chronic conditions.” I corrected him—my condition wasn’t chronic, it was just slow to abate. Now, five years on, I still don’t know what to call my dis-ease and wonder whether I will ever feel “normal” again. But my dictionary defines chronic as “persisting for a long time,” and there’s no denying it’s been a long time.

If I resist the word “chronic,” I hesitate to claim “pain” as the problem. I’ve told doctors often that I don’t really have pain. Rather, various discomforts and malfunctions, sometimes manageable, sometimes incapacitating, have wreaked havoc with my life and expectations.

How can we care for a person with cancer?


How can we care for a person with cancer? Ask Important Questions! Ask, “How are you, today?” and also ask, “What’s going to be the hard part for you?” Be sincere and show them that what they are going through is important to you. Tell them you’re coming over …. Then visit them. Be creative with special treats and conversations that will brighten their days. Even if they say they don’t need anything, that’s when they will most appreciate that you are there.