My Turn by Bill Holmes

Thoughts from the Bedside: From Medicine to Chaplaincy and Beyond

Highland’s own Bill Holmes recently published reflections from his time as a pediatric and adult neurologist and now an ordained chaplain. Highland ordained Bill in 2012. Bill’s book can be found here. Hear more about Bill’s recent work in his own words…

Most of this book was not written with a book in mind. I made notes during the quiet of the evening or early morning hours while reflecting on the encounters of the day. Over the years I have kept my notes in a loose-leaf binder labeled “Scribblings,” my thoughts from the bedside of those struggling to find meaning in the midst of suffering. I intend “bedside” to be a metaphor for that place where we are called to engage all that we are on behalf of the one who is in a place of disorientation, where things are not as they were and likely never will be again. In some cases things have never been as they should be, for injustice has made its mark on the one who sits in front of me. In all such places hope struggles to be redefined. It is at such times that questions arise concerning death, dying, afterlife, and miracles.

What ultimately generated my desire to write this book was an emerging awareness of the intertwining of my life with all who take this journey. Sharing in the suffering of others has given my life a deeper meaning than it might have otherwise attained. The nature of the suffering might be a physical or medical condition such as cancer or disabilities, coping with loss, depression, social injustice (including racism), as well as living in isolation or in a void created out of collusion between humankind and technology.

Life is a psalm; it begins with crying out mixed with the joy of being and ends with thanksgiving. The in-between is a journey marked by giving and receiving, doing good and not-so-good, faith and doubt, rethinking and rebirth, repentance and grace, hope, and love.