Updated: Feb 15
Hey there, Kingdom Warrior!
Today I’m excited to introduce you to Marjorie Thompson, a sage in the Christian faith who has learned from and sat under teachings of many other spiritual leaders, including Henri Nouwen. Her book, Courage for Caregivers, was re-released by IVP Press in August of 2022, and she joins us to talk about it today. This episode is tremendously helpful both for those giving or receiving help, but I also believe it will speak to those of us not in a current caregiving situation.
Henri Nouwen was a Dutch Catholic priest who had a prolific influence on many in the Christian faith. You may know him from some of his works like Life of the Beloved or The Wounded Healer. He had a profound influence on Marjorie’s life, as well, not just in her spiritual life, but also because she met her husband through their connection to him!
In Marjorie’s book, Courage for Caregivers, she expounds on the immense work Henri put into the topic of caregiving, adding her own unique insights as well as creating uber-practical resources in appendices in the back, like a Treasury of Stories, A Small Group Leader Guide, and a Retreat Leader Guide.
My favorite part of this interview is when Marjorie talks to us about having both courage and curiosity in our pain. She tells us how that played out for her in losing her husband to cancer right after they were starting to plan their new season of retirement together after a long season of caregiving for Marjorie’s mother-in-law.
Another part of this interview I love is Marjorie talking about the difference between caring for others and trying to cure others. There isn’t anything wrong with a cure, as most of us would gladly take a cure for our ailments any day of the week, but there is also a spiritual practice of care that God invites us into as the body of Christ. We can care for others whether we are caregivers or not.
Most of us will be caregivers at some point in our lives, whether that is caring for our children or caring for a parent of relative. But even if you’re not currently a caregiver, I believe this episode has profound wisdom for any season of pain or grief.
Listen to learn more about:
· The difference between care and cure, and what that means for our interactions with others and our relationship with God.
· How trials thrust us back to the ‘why’ questions of life, even when we thought we had processed them previously before, and where we go from there.
· How inviting curiosity into the process of grief can help us move forward in growth and wholeness, even in tremendous pain.
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Favorite Quote from the episode:
“When we have major losses, it takes us to ‘why’ questions. This is just in our human nature. We need to understand, or we feel that we need to understand things. Certainly I do. I have a very strong felt need to understand, and I think the ‘why’ questions are some of the most natural questions we ask because they’re questions about meaning: ‘What is going on here?’ ‘Why do these things happen the way they do?’ To me, the timing of John’s death was just incomprehensible. So it thrust me back into why questions even when I knew at an intellectual level that these are not answerable questions. We’re not going to get satisfactory answers to why for a lot of what happens in life. I trust that when we pass beyond the parameters of this life and we’re in a spiritual realm where we can see so much more clearly and we can hear, that much of what is very obscure and incomprehensible to us will become clear.” -Heal Podcast, Episode 112
· “Jesus never promises that we will escape our own suffering,
but rather invites us to take up our cross and follow him. He asks
if we can drink the cup he drinks, knowing we can only do so
the same way he did—as ‘a deep spiritual yes to Abba, the lover
of his wounded heart.’ He assures us that he will be with us in
our struggle to say yes—with us to the end of the age (Matthew
28:20), and even beyond what we perceive as the end of life.” -Courage for Caregivers
· “Listening fully to others is a sacred art, one of the deepest
expressions of human care we have at our disposal. Sometimes
it is the gift we most need, for to be truly heard is not only comfort
but affirmation of our dignity and value.” -Courage for Caregivers
· “What is care? The word finds its origin in the word kara,
which means to lament, to mourn, to participate in
suffering, to share in pain. To care is to cry out with those
who are ill, confused, lonely, isolated, and forgotten, and
to recognize their pains in our own heart. To care is to
enter into the world of those who are broken and powerless
and to establish there a fellowship of the weak. To care
is to be present to those who suffer, and to stay present,
even when nothing can be done to change their situation.” -Courage for Caregivers
Links from our conversation:
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