Facing Suffering by Gordon M. Greene

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Facing Suffering by Gordon M. Greene recounts the work it takes to become a hospital chaplain, showing how intensely personal and physical that experience can become.

The author started his chaplain training with the arrogance of a medical school faculty member and the certainty of a Zen priest and teacher. And he started with a drive to reform a system of care that hadn't served his wife and himself when their youngest son received a diagnosis of cerebral palsy years earlier.

But he hadn't counted on the humbling that work with patients, some of them with sorrows beyond measure, can bring. Once his arrogance and certainty had been shaken, he found unexpected forms of caring for patients and staff, and for himself.

Suffering, like loneliness or love, is a core human experience. The key question for any of us is, "How will I survive this?" But an equally tough question for those whose work is to alleviate suffering is "How will I face this? Not just this particular person with this particular pain but the relentless flow of suffering that comes in the door day after day, year after year?"

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