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Dear Reader

I compose and post these articles with only one desire in my heart: to praise God and to offer modest help on your spiritual journey.

Friday, September 5, 2014


My heroes will never get a medal from a President. However, many a
decorated warrior may have had one of my heroes in their story. There
is nothing romantic in what my heroes do. In any drama filmed they may
only be un-named extras in a scene. If money is the measure of one's
worth as listed on the wage scale, then my heroes are more than likely
to be listed on the bottom at the fringe of poverty. They are mothers,
fathers, brothers, sisters, often daughters or sons, and extraordinary
friends. But the vast majority are previously unknown to the people
whose lives they touch.

Who then are my heroes?

They are the caretakers who have put a hold on their lives to care for
a family member in their home. They are the caretakers who make it
possible for the rest of us to carry on with our lives knowing our
loved ones are taken care of in an assisted living facility or nursing

There is no one day or hour that rises out of the long days and nights
of daily living that makes for a medal of honor. It is the daily grind
of giving bed baths or changing the adult diaper or mopping the floor
of the urine or vomit. It's the tender attention, the smile while
feeding grandma who no longer can recognize her children. It's the
humor of distracting grandpa as he circles the ward or stands at the
door trying to wander away. It's the changing of beds, the patting of
hands to give some comfort, the extra cookie "stolen" for the in house
cookie monster.

They are heroes to me for many reasons. They are not easily seen or
recognized unless they are caring for your family member. They are
heroes because they do what I am grateful I don't have to do. They are
heroes because it's more than a job they do. They face long hours in
the lost battles of medicine, war, and life. They display courage that
gives me strength, hope and love for the least of my brothers and
sisters. They are the ones I have the privilege to have met or
continue to meet in my role as hospice chaplain. They inspire me.

Most of us glibly say that "if we ever get that way, do…". Well no
one will. So guess who steps into what we may see as the abyss and
makes an Alzheimer patient laugh, or an unresponsive mother look fresh
and clean.

It may not require the training of a rocket scientist or even a
surgeon. Their job may not require facing a gun, enemy fire or
entering a burning building, but they do face what most of us fear the
most – being helpless and dependent. Their uniforms don't demand much
prestige. They may not be able to escape to a movie theatre or attend
a family reunion or a family wedding. They rarely have a day off. If
they get a couple of hours a week away from home to do the shopping,
it is considered a major break.

The skill, dedication, love and fortitude these heroes have
developed cannot be measured. It's in their character to take on
heroic daily deeds, hour after hour, day after day, month after month
and sometimes year after year. If you know one of these heroes, let
them know you recognize who they are. They won't be looking for
recognition, but it is always nice to hear, thank you, well done.

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