Category Hope

Choreographing a Crisis

As a chaplain and pastor, I am inevitably with folks during periods of crisis, trauma, and chaos.  One of my mantras that I repeat time and time again to families during such times is, “Your crisis. Your call. Your choreography.” I say this because often folks try to please everyone else in their extended family, […]

Joy in the Mourning

A sermon preached prior to communion at Presbyterian Church of Western Springs, IL July 7, 2013 Psalm 30 I exalt you, Lord, because you pulled me up; you didn’t let my enemies celebrate over me. Lord, my God, I cried out to you for help and you healed me. Lord, you brought me up from […]

On having two hands

The majority of 2013 has been unexpected. And the more life changes occur, the more I’m grateful for my two hands. With both hands I’m able to hold the sacred and horrible, pain and joy, the already but not yet. In one hand I hold that I miss my mom, and in the other I […]

Community of Healing

A Sermon Preached at Presbyterian Church of Western Springs, IL on June 9, 2013.  Soon afterward, Jesus went to a town called Nain, and his disciples and a large crowd went along with him. As he approached the town gate, a dead person was being carried out—the only son of his mother, and she was […]

Memorial Day

Memorial Day weekend began Friday afternoon in a hospital room overlooking Lake Michigan as a friend and his dad got discharge papers and headed home to begin hospice care. While my friend was confirming the many details, I knelt down by his dad’s hospital bed, held his hand, and told him that I’m so grateful […]

Why I Need the Resurrection

In response to the prompt: In 100 words or less, write “Why I Need the Resurrection.” I need the resurrection because a father didn’t live to see his son’s wedding because I pushed the “code” button myself when my Mom was unresponsive in the hospital because many still wonder if their stones will ever be […]

Caution: People Grieving

As I was checking out at Target, the cashier asked, “How are you?” Without thinking, I responded, “Well, my mom died, I started a new job, and I think I forgot to put the dog in his crate before I left the house. How are you?” She stared at me, then slowly started scanning my […]

Steel Magnolias

Martin Creed’s MOTHERS is currently on display outside Museum of Contemporary Art Chicago during his yearlong residency. The white neon and steel display is a kinetic sculpture, measuring 48 feet wide, 20+ feet tall, and steadily rotates 360 degrees. Creed states that the piece had to be that large, “because mothers always have to be bigger […]

Dance in the Graveyards

February 13 marks the one month anniversary of Mom’s death, and I find it very appropriate that this anniversary lands on Ash Wednesday: a day when we acknowledge our finitude, dependence upon God, and the reality that from dust we were created and to dust we shall return. While I have been exceedingly aware of […]

Living as Those Prepared to Die

Since Mom’s death, there’s a comment I’ve heard folks say often that makes me a bit queasy. It goes like this, “If Carol Masters can die of cancer, that means anyone can die of cancer.” On the one hand, I get what folks mean by that, since she did have cancer for 30 years, and was […]