Recent Articles

Did She Smoke?


Was he wearing a helmet? Was she wearing a seat belt?  Did she smoke? My mother was in a nursing home for 7 years.  During that time, Sharon, one of her aides, cared gently for my mom.  She did lots of extra special things for my mom: She would sit with her and just chat. Come visit […]

Caregiving Basic: Listen


Good, empathetic listening is a caregiving guideline that is often taken for granted or overlooked, but it is often the most powerful way you can help a person who is suffering.

Mommy, Listen to me!


Mommy, Listen to Me! “Mommy, listen to me! Quit saying Uh huh, and give me an answer!” How many of us Mommies are guilty of tuning out our children’s chatter, punctuating only with a few well-spaced hu huhs? Have you ever noticed how frequently the phrase, “Incline thine ear to me” occurs in the Psalms? […]

Don’t say, “I understand”


I suspect that the most basic and powerful way to connect to another person is to listen. Just listen. Perhaps the most important thing we ever give each other is our attention. When people are talking . . .listen to what they’re saying. Care about it. It has taken me a long time to believe in the power of simply saying, “I’m so sorry,” when someone is in pain. And meaning it. One of my patients told me that when she tried to tell her story people often interrupted to tell her that they once had something just like than happen to them.

Be There and Listen


A story which I heard 11 years ago reminds me of a powerful way to care for people who are hurting. Gregory Richards was a chaplain to terminally ill children in a New York hospital. He tells of one of his experiences in the following story:

Call Her. Call Him.


Pick up that 200 pound phone and call her!

Recently, I was causally reading Anne Lamott’s new book, Help Thanks Wow—and the following words jumped off the page, confronting me. Here are those words:

“God must love to hear us calling our meth-head cousin just to check in because no one else in the family speaks to him.”

So, Ann says,” I picked up the two-hundred pound phone, dialed his number, and said, “How are you?”

Two Pictures of Caregiving


In his book, The Last Thing We Talk About, Joseph Bayly shares his honest feelings about the death of one of his children and two caregivers: Picture #1:  I was sitting, torn by grief.  Someone came and talked to me of God’s dealings, of why it happened, of hope beyond the grave.  He talked constantly.  […]