Luminaries Light the Way to New Life in a New Year

Posted in christian, Christianity, church events, inspirational by Mike on January 7, 2012

For the past eight years, surviving relatives and friends of former patients at Legacy Hopewell House Hospice have been invited to honor the memory of their loved one by lighting and decorating a luminary at a special celebration during the Holiday Season. (Luminaries are made by placing a candle in a paper bag partially filled with sand. The placing of luminaries during the holidays is a tradition in a number of cultures.) On January 1, 2012, over 125 luminaries lit up the the grounds of the inpatient facility, which is located in Southwest Portland, Oregon. CACINA priest Fr. Larry Hansen, who serves as Chaplain and Volunteer Coordinator, says that creating and lighting a luminary can be a most-healing ritual for bereaved family members and friends:

It’s as if one is sending up a special prayer of thanksgiving and benediction to a beloved wife, husband, father, mother or child. And when a person feels powerless in the face of death, it’s also a means of claiming one’s right to say, “Attention must be paid, and I’m paying attention.”

Here are some photos from the event:

Resting in Place

Posted in inspirational, Uncategorized by Rev. Larry Hansen, BCC, CT on December 22, 2008

Greetings Friends,

I serve as Chaplain and Volunteer Coordinator at Legacy Hopewell House, an inpatient facility located in the Hillsdale neighborhood in Portland, Oregon.  About twice each month, I publish an E-Newsletter.  It’s primarily read by our volunteers, but also by our professional staff and others within our Legacy Health System.  Following is a reflection I wrote recently.  I thought I’d share it with you, because it seems to make great sense on this Monday when we are literally snowed in, unable to go anywhere.

Frank Ostaseski is one of the Founders of the Zen Hospice Project in San Francisco.  In one of his recorded talks, he outlines five precepts to develop practical and caring presence with someone who is dying and/or a loved other.  In the middle of this busy season, I’d like to focus on just one: “Find a place of rest in the middle of things.”

It goes without saying that many of us live our lives at a frightening pace.  Without literally putting on the brakes of awareness, we may well find ourselves scurrying from place to place for no particular reason other than that’s the way we normally live our lives.  And of course, the danger is that our lives will be over before we’ve had a chance to really live them, much less live into them.  I don’t think we do this on purpose; in my own case, I just keep taking on something here, something there, a little at a time, only to discover that, when I begin to complain about the busyness of my daily existence, the cause of my distress is me. I am the one who jumps onto the treadmill and turns it up.  This can happen in just about any phase of my life, so I value the lessons our patients teach me about the importance of truly resting in place.

I recall a conversation I had with one of our elderly patients who asked (and not just rhetorically), “How can six hours seem longer than sixty years?”  We had a wonderful discussion about our perceptions of time and how time does indeed stretch out and even stand still when we pay attention to each precious moment of life, when we understand each breath as gift and each of our senses as a port of entry into the eternal Now.  As we all rush about during this holiday season, perhaps we can all take Ostaseski’s advice to heart and “Find a place of rest in the middle of things.”

Christmas Blessings to all. . . .

Fr. Larry

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