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Hi. 

I starting this issue March 21. And then I forgot about this newsletter for a month.

I don't mean forgot to write. I mean I forgot that it existed. 

I don't feel bad about that. Curating about caring while we were all in the middle of caring wasn't essential work, at least not for me. But this week, some things started to clear in my head and heart and I decided that May 1 was a great time to create and send the April-May edition. 

Someday, I'll summarize what I've learned during the last six weeks. But not today. For today, here are some resources. 

Recent writing I've done

Dr Dave Johnson and I talked about fear and hope and presence for our co-workers. I think it was helpful for me to talk through some of these experiences out loud.  Part 1 and Part 2

"No Matter How Small" is the title of one of my posts, about a book of the same name by my friends Kristen and Patrick Riecke. As I said in my post and in a conversation with a friend, this is not a book for someone in the middle of loss. It IS a book for everyone with the responsibility and opportunity to offer care to people. No Matter How Small: Understanding Miscarriage and Stillbirth

I didn't write "Planting time", though it appeared at 300wordsaday.com. My friend Rich Dixon started writing posts and sending them to me as a way to help keep it going. As Rich said when he started, "I’ve been sort of frustrated, wishing I could do something to help.This is one small thing I can do, to relieve a bit of stress from someone who’s on the front line." It did relieve stress and it did help. 

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And I published a book on leading funerals days before public funerals stopped. In fact, a couple weeks after the book came out, I used the framework to lead a memorial service on the day that the limit for gatherings moved from 50 to 10 (there were about 40 in attendance). 

As I wrote at 300 at the time, Giving a Life Meaning: How to Lead Funerals, Memorial Services, and Celebrations of Life is the email that I would send. It’s a combination of confidence building and competence building. There are samples and examples. There are explanations of what goes into a service. There is a chapter on how to lead a service for a baby.

It’s not for the people who already have a liturgy, who have a denominational script to follow. But there are many of us who don’t have those roadmaps. And that’s why I wrote this. 

What I'm reading (thanks to people like you)

"11 Self-Care Steps for Leaders Who Are Barely Holding On." Karl is helpful. 

"To those who've lost loved ones" is a meditation from Daniel Harrell, editor-in-chief at Christianity Today. His wife died on Easter Sunday 2019. 
"My wife [Dawn Harrell] wrote, “Forgiveness is agreeing to live with the consequences of another person’s sin. You are going to live with those consequences anyway whether you like it or not, so the only choice you have is whether you will do so in the bondage of bitterness or in the freedom of forgiveness. No one truly forgives without accepting and suffering the pain of another person’s sin. That can seem unfair and you may wonder where the justice is in it, but justice is found at the foot of the cross, which makes forgiveness legally and morally right.”

Ann Kroeker, a writing coach, talks about "How to write in the middle of chaos". For those of us who think with our fingers on a keyboard, these tools are helpful to get us back to thinking. 

Thomas Reese's "Meditating on death in a pandemic" sounds morbid, but it's consistent with Rob Moll's idea of a good death. This priest is using his time in quarantine to remember and restore relationships with God, himself, and others. 

Kenneth Pierpont is a pastor who just watched his parents retire from ministry in their mid-eighties. "How many acres you got", is a thoughtful, thought-provoking reflection on what we do in caring for people. As Ken writes, "I say let’s stop making numbers the main measure of the church and let’s use stories to measure its faithfulness, not the way of the high-powered city businessman, but the simple way of the Village Parson."

In closing. . .
I forgot to mention this. I've also been publishing cat pictures. Some people believe that I've gone over to the dark side. The cats have been sheltering in place with us while our daughter and son-in-law have been out of town. So I don't love cats, I love Hope. And it's been a way to offer some content that's distracting and amusing. The kids return in a couple days. We'll see what happens with the cats. 

Again, if you know this is helpful for someone else, please forward this email to them with your endorsement. I'd love to be able to help more people doing what you are doing. 

And, if you'd like to know more about supporting this project and 300wordsADay.com please read "sustaining". 

Thanks!

See you next month!

Jon 

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