Truth Be Told

Sam Mun Tsai Fishing Village, New Territories, Hong Kong (2007)

Words are chrism; writing is an act of anointing with their oiled holiness. Like a priest, I reach for this powerful chrism for sacramental purposes in the liturgy of life.

The chrism sanctifies experience and consecrates common thoughts into sacred vessels from which I partake of spiritual food. I rely on this particular chrism to experience the baptismal joy of new life. Whether sick in body, mind or spirit, I call upon literary Elders to anoint me so that I might be healed. In the never-ending confirmation process, words and writing mediate the presence of the Spirit.

I am cut off from new and unending life when the ability to string words together is severed. Paralysis occurs. And those who seek to steal the chrism and their ministration from me inflict a particularly gruesome violence. Yet, this attempted crime is just what happened on a bright Monday morning.

In the midst of an exceptionally difficult time, I went looking for help from two people in a position to offer it without any impact upon them. I wanted to stay for a short time in an unused house they have. The request was denied. Their decision was surprising to hear, but it was relatively minor to what followed. The only help offered was for my own good. “We will help you with retraining for ‘another sort’ of job,” I heard from the other end of the conversation. “You can go to a community college near here and learn a useful skill. We’ll get an apartment for you and help you while you go to school.” Take it or leave it.
I have a degree from one of the top universities in the world. Built on words and writing, I have more than 25 years in a public relations career and am accredited by its primary professional organization. My work, especially the writing, has won many awards. I have taught and mentored others in the essential skills and practices of my profession. I have had a book on for more than 10 years. I have enough credits for one if not two master’s degrees. I have specialized training and experience as a hospital chaplain.

In the minds of two people in Indiana, the best thing I can do — should do — is learn a useful trade after all and forget this lifelong foolish affair with welding words and writing into all sorts of ways in an effort to make an impact, be it for organizations, for their leaders, or for myself.

The conversation yesterday (and so many of the ones that preceded it) resulted in a death. They lost their daughter. Yet, in trying to take away that which is my life, they only made me realize the treasure I’ve had all along. No one can rob me of that.


  1. Oh, Kim. I’m catching up on posts from being away (can you tell?), and just read this. My heart goes out to you. This is so sad. I don’t want the two people in Indiana to lose their daughter, nor for her to lose them. I’m so sorry. There’s a resiliency in this, but oh my heart aches for you too.

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