Hospice In a Fascist Time – by John Hughes


Thank you, John. I read every line avidly. Cheered throughout. And leave your text remembering the quote of Hildegard ‘I am a feather on the breath of God’ . Her words:

  • Listen: there was once a king sitting on his throne. Around him stood great and wonderfully beautiful columns ornamented with ivory, bearing the banners of the king with great honour. Then it pleased the king to raise a small feather from the ground and he commanded it to fly. The feather flew, not because of anything in itself but because the air bore it along. Thus am I '“A feather on the breath of God.”

I’m outside of America - down under in Oz - and perhaps I could try to describe not a king, a throne and a palace, but a Trumpotician, a white house and a planet. Then sigh and say with you as you go to work each morning and I too do my little daily tasks: I am a feather on the breath of God. We fly ‘not because of anything in ourselves’ but because the air bears us along. Sounds escapist but somewhat helpful to me in Fascist times, as was/is your post.


Was a pleasure to read, thank you!

I too have been thinking a lot about missing opportunities and failing to show up for the real (not fake, albeit maybe dreamlike) daily real life that we are lucky to have. How did we get to be this lucky?


@JHughes…thank you.

My first discussion at the Quaker meeting I began attending last year was with a Hospice chaplain. He is soothing, caring and careful with his words. Yet, just like you and your writings, there is an undercurrent of a need for life, a pressing urge to seek the light in the midst of dark times.

He recently stayed in Japan to accompany his dying father. He just arrived back to Kentucky last week and was jetlagged and worn. He was, ready or not, going right back into the bittersweet hospice after his own stressful times, ready to be there for others. After reading another essay of yours, Accompanying the Dying: A Hospice Chaplain’s Perspective, reading about your own multi-generational struggles with death within your own family, I give you a standing ovation for rekindling your profound urge to seek the light in the midst of dark times.

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It is cool to hear from you, Douglas. Thank you for your kind words. Btw, I lived in Kentucky throughout the 1990s and also have ancestors from there. My daughter lives in Versailles, Ky. Where do you live there?

About 20 minutes north in Frankfort. Noticed a KY reference somewhere within the writing and couldn’t resist a plug for the state :smirk: Reach out if ever nearby!

I ended up purchasing a copy of your Crossing Rivers as a gift for him. Really liking that one as well.

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I was Associate Rector, Church of Ascension, from 1991 until 1993. Lived at the top of Lewis Ferry Rd. I stayed at the Capital Plaza December 22 and 23, 2017. Small world. I know two Quakers in your community, Ben and Patricia.


Ben and Patricia send their love back your way! As it so happens I am co-clerking the meeting with Ben. Today was my first attempt at leading the meeting for business, and can say with all honesty that Ben is a magical individual, willing to put up with young whippersnappers such as I.

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