Voices from the Hospice
Staying with Life Through Suffering and Waiting
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Hospice chaplain Bob Whorton takes us deep into the human experience of suffering and waiting. Framed as a train journey, we are invited to travel through various stations and stop for a while in many different station waiting rooms. The counter-cultural message is that there are difficult situations in our lives which we cannot escape from and must be lived; there are no short-cuts, and the stations must be travelled through one by one. However, in following this path we will find a new orientation to life, and we will find ourselves mirroring the way of Christ. In these pages we listen to the voices of patients and family members in a hospice; they become our teachers. And we listen also to the ancient voice of the psalmist who was well versed in the ways of suffering love.
'This deceptively gentle book probes deep under the skin of hospice ministry. With keen sensitivity and audacious honesty, Bob Whorton explores the spiritual challenge of accompanying patients and families in their living and dying. His skilful interweaving of patient stories with personal insights and reflections on the psalms turns up new treasures on every page. The book's underlying theme is of a train pressing relentlessly forwards through subtle stations of the soul. It is a demanding, unsettling, but ultimately enriching journey for any reader who is prepared to share the profound compassion and humanity of this fine contribution to the hospice literature.' -- Margaret Whipp, NHS Chaplain
'Bob Whorton invites us on a train journey, mediated by three voices - his own searingly honest reflections as chaplain; the hospice patients, their friends and relatives and the staff; and the voice of literature, in particular the psalms. The resulting encounter with 'death, that great can opener of the soul' encourages us to stay with reality, not only in the intensity of hospice care, but also in life itself as we realise that the paradoxes of mortality confront each one of us: taking control versus letting go; trust versus terror; hope versus despair.' -- Jessica Rose, psychotherapist and author of Psychology for Pastoral Contexts
'In this profound and compassionate book Bob Whorton goes to the heart of the challenging situations in our lives which we may long to avoid, but which sometimes simply have to be lived. Drawing deeply from his own experience, the wisdom of the Psalms and, above all, the voices of hospice patients and their families, he explores how we may face times of suffering, waiting and dying and through them find a path to new life. This is a book to treasure; and for many facing difficult times, it will be a source of comfort and hope.' -- Judy Davies, Hospice chaplain