I'm a palliative care chaplain who provides spiritual support to patients with serious, life-changing, and for some, life-threatening, illnesses. A common story they tell is an illness, like a storm, blew them off their life's map.  They find themselves lost in the unfamiliar territory of sickness. The future, once certain and promising, is now uncertain and ominous. Plans they'd made are on hold, possibly canceled. The specter of death looms ...

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The metaphor we use, almost universally, to describe the experience of illness is that of warfare.  Someone diagnosed with cancer is said to be “battling” cancer (as if the diagnosis itself implies a fight).  Family members often say that their hospitalized loved one is a “fighter” who “will never give up” or surrender.  Doctors refer to the most potent antibiotics as “big guns” that are prescribed to “kill the bugs” ...

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No one wants to die. Even people who want to go to heaven don't want to die to get there. And yet death is the destination we all share. No one has ever escaped it. And that is as it should be, because death is very likely the single best invention of life. It is life's change agent. It clears out the old to make way for the new. -Steve Jobs, ...

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