If he could give one piece of advice to any physician, it would be to develop the skill of “empathetic listening.”
We Catholics keep our decorations up till Epiphany (January 9th this year), I’ve learned (or depending on whom you consult, is it The Baptism, which this year falls the day after Epiphany (Jan. 10th), or is it January 5th which, counting December 25th, is the twelfth day of Christmas, or is it January 6, which is the day the three wise men are supposed to have arrived in Bethlehem)?
In short, just leave them up for now.
Then I settled down to one of my favorite kind of afternoons: I started reading “Heavy Light: A Journey through Madness, Mania & Healing” by Horatio Clare. H, as his friends (and now, I) call him, wrote a stellar memoir about growing up on a Wales sheep farm called “Running for the Hills”, and has written a bunch of travel and landscape type books since. He’s also possibly an alcoholic, and possibly bipolar, and suffers from Seasonal Affective Disorder, and really, really should not smoke pot.
“Real isn’t how you are made,’ ” said the Skin Horse. “It’s a thing that happens to you. When a child loves you for a long, long time, not just to play with, but REALLY loves you, then you become Real.”
From War Is a Force that Gives Us Meaning, by journalist Chris Hedges : a story about new life and a lowly cow and an old man who sacrificed so that the light shine for someone else. A story, in other words, about Christmas: “I sat one afternoon with a Bosnain Serb couple, Rosa and […]
“Metanoia is a response to an invitation that focuses on God’s promise that something new is in the offing. It is an invitation to a conversion of mindset. It is so radical that we don’t have an English word capable of communicating it.”
God doesn’t will us to suffer anxiety but, given the human condition and the order of creation, we are bound to. Knowing that we are in solidarity with all the anxiety of the world doesn’t calm our nervous systems but it does allow us to offer our suffering to relieve someone else’s.
Like Jesus nailed to the Cross, Dennis couldn’t get away from the many people who besieged him: wanted to seek his counsel, longed for a kind word, just wanted to touch his hand because he was a champion who ran his course and everyone who ever met him could see it, and bowed before it.