Monday, December 19, 2016

Christmas in the Fourth Quarter

Therefore the Lord himself will give you a sign: 
The virgin will conceive and give birth to a son, and will call him Immanuel. 
 Isaiah 7:14 (NIV)

I just had the wonderful experience of celebrating my 75th birthday…3/4 of a century!  For my grandchildren this is OLD!  I received a lot of wonderful hugs and kisses from them and best wishes from friends and family.  The question now before me is the Christmas celebration in the “Fourth Quarter”.   Is Christmas in the 4th quarter different then at other times in our lives?

My answer is “Yes”!  I have been particularly struck by the losses of friends and colleagues of my age that have been removed from my “contacts” and Christmas lists.   A part of my world is gone even though their stories remain.  That is what makes these celebrations so poignant.

One of the mantras in our family has been “finish strong”!  What I think that translates to in addressing “fourth quarter questions”  is the importance of continuing to live, to be surprised, to connect, to love and to cherish each other.  In the words of Paul Kalanitha, “Cease Not till Death”.  But our living will only have meaning if we connect to the larger stories in our lives.  For me, that is the Christmas pilgrimage where my story meets a larger story of faith.  It is the excitement and blessing of a Christmas birth story that leaves us with a big “AWE”!

Merry Christmas,


Kalanithi, Paul (2016-01-12). When Breath Becomes Air (p. 118). Random House Publishing Group. Kindle Edition. 

Hage, ML Healing Doctors

Hage, ML A Royal Birth

Hage, M. L. (2011). Pilgrimage and Healing

Friday, December 2, 2016

Healing Doctors

Then the Lord God formed a man from the dust of the ground 
and breathed into his nostrils the breath of life, and the man became a living being.
Genesis 2:7 (NIV)

“With what strife and pains we come into the world we know not,
 but ’tis commonly no easy matter to get out of it.”
quote from Sir Thomas Browne, Religio Medici 

There are stories that are “awesome”…filled with the spiritual awe of a purpose driven life.  When Breath Becomes Air is one of those stories .  It is more than a memoir, but a call to all of us as we face the uncertainties of life.  We meet that call in the agent/patient, Paul Kalanithi, MD. and his wife, Lucy Kalanithi, MD.  The uniqueness of Paul Kalanithi’s report is his ability to tell two stories of a healing agent and patient at the same time.  His double vision is a gift to us all.

The take away for me is his understanding of the connectedness found in the doctor/patient dyad.  He is able to describe the interactions with clarity and care.  It is a conversation that will inspire you and bring you to tears.  Abraham Verghese’s report is “there was an honesty, a truth in the writing that took my breath away.” 

Another breathless moment is provided by Paul’s wife, Lucy, in an epilogue that underscores the context of love that was rediscovered and continues to sustain her.  It is going to take time for me to “catch my breath” and find the pearls that I missed with the first reading.



Kalanithi, Paul (2016-01-12). When Breath Becomes Air (p. 53). Random House Publishing Group. Kindle Edition. 

Hage M.L. 2012. Hope.