Tag: serving others

Gratitude for a Long Term Friend

Eva Gates

Way back in the summer of 1992, I went to serve as the senior pastor of the First Baptist Church of Winchester, Virginia.  That’s when I met the family of Butch and Eva Gates.  The first day in my office, Eva called me and asked me to officiate at a marriage vow renewal service that she and Butch wanted to have.  At that point, they’d been married 25 years and thought they’d celebrate by repeating to one another their marriage vows.  “Isn’t that sweet,” I thought, and I imagined showing up at their house and with a few people standing around the living room, I’d lead them in repeating the old wedding lines.

Boy, was I wrong.

No one on planet earth knows how to celebrate better than the Gates family!  Yes, we were at their house, but so were about fifty other people, along with grilled food, chilled food (and drink), music, dancing, and lots and lots of laughter.  Eva embraced me, Butch rammed a cold beer in my hand (yes, this Baptist layman rammed a cold beer into his pastor’s hand – he was no conventional Baptist!) and after about an hour of preliminaries, we gathered on the lawn with all those friends circling us and we repeated vows.  At the end, when I re-pronounced them husband and wife, an ear splitting cheer exploded from the crowd and the music crescendoed again.

Then in 1994, Eva and Butch accompanied me to Mexico City on a mission trip in cooperation with the Virginia Baptist Mission Board and the Baptist Convention of Mexico City.  As she translated, I led between 8 and 10 Bible studies every day for two weeks and preached two sermons.  Butch went everywhere with us, adding spirit, humor, and frequently, prayers.  After we returned to Virginia, I was privileged to celebrate their three children’s weddings, births of grandchildren, and just about any other excuse to throw a party.  As I said, no one celebrated better than the Gates Tribe!

A few years ago I returned to Winchester to participate in the memorial service for Butch who’d died too early.  Indeed, though it was a bit more subdued than other parties, the Gates Tribe still knew how to gather and celebrate the life of one fantastic man.  And through those years and all those life events, I grew to love the Gates family.  Getting to know them was one of the greatest blessings of my life as a pastor.

And now, it’s a huge joy to work with Eva again.  She saw my appeal to my Spanish speaking friends and volunteered to do translations of our material here at the Support Team Network.  Each time she sends a Spanish document to us and each time I correspond with her, I feel joy in my heart.  I thank God for the way life has brought me such fantastic long-term friends, of which Eva is among the best!

Thank you, Eva Gates, for your friendship, your love, your embrace over the years, and for the work you’re doing for us here at UAB.  Our gratitude, and especially mine, goes very deep.

A Message Carved in Rock

One of hundreds of petroglyphs just west of Albuquerque, New Mexico.

One of hundreds of petroglyphs just west of Albuquerque, New Mexico.

I saw petroglyphs in New Mexico last week. “Petroglyph” means “rock writing” and refers to art carved in volcanic stones lying about the desert hills just west of Albuquerque. According to the scientists who’ve studied the petroglyphs, Native Americans from the Pueblo nation produced those markings during a few centuries before and after 800, c.e. Three of us hiked around the canyon where those ancient Pueblos left their art and we repeatedly asked what they symbols endeavored to say. “What do they MEAN,” we kept asking. We saw representations of snakes, birds, foot prints, lizards, horses, masked people, and a bunch of spirals, as well as dozens of other forms we couldn’t decipher.

The symbol on this rock resembles the theme on the New Mexico state flag, probably symbolizing the four ordinal directions.

The symbol on this rock resembles the theme on the New Mexico state flag, probably symbolizing the four ordinal directions.

As we read the signs along the trail, we learned that some of the art represented religious ideas while others purely secular themes. Some of the markings simply identified a path. Then we came across a trail sign that read, “. . . according to modern Pueblo people, it is culturally insensitive to reveal the meanings of some petroglyphs.”

“So, you had to be part of the club,” one of my colleagues said with a snort.

“I don’t think so,” said another. “I think it means that you honor your community. Unless you’re part of the community, to talk about what these things mean might actually make someone look bad, or hurt them, or lead to misunderstanding things that make sense if you’ve been living together for a while.”

We agreed with each other that the latter explanation made more sense.

All of that brought to mind an essay that I’d read just before going on the excursion. William Deresiewicz, an excellent writer and thinker, had reviewed a book written by a literary hero of mine, Annie Dillard. In reflecting on Dillard’s body of work, Deresiewicz (can anyone tell me how to pronounce that?) made the observation that “we are born with souls but die in bodies.” I think that’s why the modern Pueblos don’t tell us what some of those petroglyphs mean. Even though the symbols stir something in me when I look at them – they touch my soul – the fact that my body never breathed the same air, smelled the same smells, shared the same struggles, and celebrated the same successes as those Pueblo people makes it difficult, if not impossible, to relate to their art.

Many cultures include the spiral in their religious symbolism.

Many cultures include the spiral in their religious symbolism.

This doesn’t mean that I cannot imagine in some ways what the Pueblos faced and what their humanity desired and needed. Certainly, common concerns connect the whole human community now and across time. However, the real healing comes when we enter into each other’s lives, touch one another, listen to one another, and respond to one another in real time, in the places we occupy.

You see, true community grows when we’ve become mutually vulnerable, where we connect meaningfully with others who cherish and honor our vulnerability and offer theirs in trust, when we breathe the same air, smell the same smells, share the same struggles, and celebrate the same successes. That’s the only way loneliness can be assuaged and wholeness nurtured.

An academic knowledge of what this or that petroglyph means doesn’t have the power to heal me. However, when I see a spiral carved in the rock, I can imagine that some Pueblos had decided to draw a symbol for the power of coming to a center, of honing in on the most important thing, and that the most important thing is the power of blessing one another in a community of trust and love. Humans across cultures, across eons, across religions have come to this conclusion. So, this tells me that I need to spiral into a community center, too!

Beautiful scenery against the backdrop of the Sandia Mountains.

Beautiful scenery against the backdrop of the Sandia Mountains.

Yes, that’s another reason why we do support teams here at UAB Pastoral Care. When you enter intentionally into a relationship of caring and trust, you discover a depth of spiritual power you’d never experience by looking at it from the outside. You want to know if support teams “work?” I can show you statistics, or you can enter and experience the love. Which sounds more attractive?

Maybe that’s what the Pueblos are telling us about the petroglyphs. Embed yourself in your own community of caring and support and love, then draw your own symbols.

“Independence” Doesn’t Happen in Nature

We could see the Milky Way almost this clearly on that night without whippoorwills.

We could see the Milky Way almost this clearly on that night without whippoorwills.

Some years ago, I stood with a cousin of mine on a balmy June evening at the edge of a field on our late grandfather’s farm. It was about 10:00 p.m. and the field stretched away for nearly a mile to a distant tree line, visible as a dark jagged ribbon against a luminous night sky. We’d gone to that field because of its distance from any night lights and our desire for a clear view of the Milky Way. We stretched out on our backs in the thick turf and with our heads in our interlocked hands looked up. There it glowed above us, what the Bushmen of the Kalahari in South Africa call “The Backbone of Night.” It began in the constellation Cassiopeia directly overhead and stretched into the southwest. I felt the usual awe as I stared up into infinity and contemplated the immensity of the universe. “It’s just so awesome,” my cousin said.

“Sure makes me feel small,” I said. He pointed out the steady movement of a satellite, we laughed at the blinking lights of a high altitude airplane, and began to notice the various shades of color in the stars.

Then, I started to notice some things closer to earth. I could hear the night creaks of the insects and the calls of frogs from a small pond in the field to our backs. It felt familiar because my cousin and I had been to that very field many times over the years, long before we were married, had kids, got educated and moved to cities where ground glare made it impossible to see the Milky Way and where the night sounds included far more sirens than frogs.

I waxed a bit nostalgic. I said, “You know, it’s so quiet out here, but I haven’t heard a whippoorwill the whole time we’ve been here.”

My cousin sighed. (He’d returned to the farm much more frequently than I.) He said, “I miss them, too.” He went on, “They used to fill the air with their calls this time of year, but they’ve grown less frequent over the last few years.”

“Why is that,” I asked.

“There’re all kinds of theories, but I can tell you what happened here. First, they bulldozed all the hedgerows, which was where they hung out.”

“Why’d they bulldoze the hedgerows?”

“They wanted a bigger farm and they wanted to plant a lot of corn and the hedgerows made it inconvenient for the big machinery. Of course, without the hedgerows, the whippoorwills weren’t around to eat the moths that got in the corn, so they upped their usage of pesticides. After that, my grand-dad and dad wouldn’t let livestock in the fields to eat the stubble because they were afraid the pesticides would poison them, so the natural fertilizer wasn’t there anymore, which led to using artificial fertilizers. The heavy machinery compacted the soil, so they have to use even more fertilizers and pesticides. And now, the run-off from all those chemicals has killed off most of the bass in the tributaries to the Pee Dee. And if by chance you DO catch a bass in those creeks, I wouldn’t advise eating it.”

My cousin waved his hand at the Cosmos above us. “We might not notice it right away, but all of this is connected. I think we’ll hear that missing whippoorwill song again when we take all these connections seriously.”

The more we saw these guys, the better our snapdragons and rosemary grew.

The more we saw these guys, the better our snapdragons and rosemary grew.

I thought of that night when I was reading some research the other day. The author made the statement that the notion of “independence” is an abstract political term, but independence doesn’t happen in nature. Rather, interdependence characterizes the way the creation works. If bees don’t pollinate crops in California, grocery shoppers in Alabama pay higher prices – IF they can get the product.

That’s why we do Support Teams, in fact, because we human beings depend upon one another far more than many of us want to admit. As I’ve come to see, health isn’t just the absence of disease. To be healthy means a person is living and loving within a network of relationships, embodied in a community, and making a contribution to the community while enjoying other people’s contributions. Too often in our work as chaplains, we come across people who believe the “rugged cowboy” myth of our society, that if you’re what you ought to be, you can handle whatever comes your way all by yourself. We do Support Teams because we weren’t born alone, we weren’t raised alone, we weren’t educated alone, we don’t make all our clothes or raise all our food, or mine the minerals that someone else used to make our iPhones, TVs, and automobiles. We aren’t even entertained alone.

And we will not get well and stay healthy alone, either.

So we regularly offer our counsel and companionship so that folks can better use the unique medicine that is their community. For so many folks, that organized community is the missing piece in their worlds. It’s nothing to be ashamed of, needing each other to be healthy. And so often, when we take our actual interconnectedness seriously and organize and nurture it, a missing song returns.

Mortals Telling Stories on the Threshold of Mystery (with apologies to Ray Barfield)

I wonder what the story is.

I wonder what the story is.

You never meet an individual. Oh, sure, you can run into someone standing by herself in the line at the coffee kiosk, exchange greetings, and have a two-way conversation analyzing the coffee, but the fact is: she’s responding with a style, using vocabulary that she learned, and referring to cues she picked up from a vast community of family, friends, colleagues, and culture in which she’s been soaked for years.  When you take the time to learn that history, a “typical business woman” in a suit grabbing a Pike Place at Starbuck’s – almost a cardboard cut-out – becomes Elaine from Savannah who needs a shot of caffeine to escape the lethargy induced by the long drive from Georgia the night before after visiting her ailing mother over the weekend.  Listen a little to the story and watch texture and depth emerge.

Be careful before you entertain all the assumptions that go with regarding this as a "typical country church."

Be careful before you entertain all the assumptions that go with regarding this as a “typical country church.”

I’ve found this to be the case with the congregations with whom I’ve worked over the years, both as a parish pastor, and now as a chaplain. There really is no typical congregation. When you take the time to enter into the particular history of a particular congregation, you discover unique nuances, stories, and traditions which give character to that group of people, regardless of the denominational label they carry.

I began grappling with this reality at the outset of my pastoral career in the early ’80’s. I had been a psychiatric chaplain at the University of Louisville Hospital and had made the shift to local parish ministry at a little Baptist church by the name of Muldraugh, in Muldraugh, Kentucky. I’d arrived at that church, a Ph.D. student in the psychology of religion, and thinking I was God’s gift to these people, that I had the insight for which they’d thirsted and for which they’d be eternally grateful when I imparted it to them. After a few months getting to know the leadership’s names and holding forth in the pulpit, I led a deacon’s meeting in which I revealed the analysis I’d made of the church based on a very good book on congregational dynamics I’d been reading. After I showed them my little chart of where I saw the church heading in the future unless they adopted my particular program, the group fell into silence. Then the chair of the deacons exploded in fury. There isn’t enough room in a short blog entry to reveal all his insights into my pastoral incompetence, or his very colorful language which included questions concerning my genetic origins.  I don’t remember how the meeting ended, but someone offered a weak prayer of dismissal, and I staggered out into the night.

Muldraugh Baptist Church, Muldraugh, Kentucky, on a cold winter's Sunday.

Muldraugh Baptist Church, Muldraugh, Kentucky, on a cold winter’s Sunday.

Later that week, one of my personal, lifetime heroes emerged from the blur. Ernest Ennis had been at that deacon’s meeting and he invited me to his house to drink tea, eat pecan pie (gooey pecan pie), and “just talk.”  After he congratulated me on a “fine sermon this past Sunday,” and reflected on what he’d learned from it, he began telling me stories.  I learned his story. I learned how Mr. Ennis, an engineer and a brick mason, had partnered with three other church members to lay the masonry which composed the walls of the church building.  I learned how the congregation grew from the engineering personnel drawn to Fort Knox at the beginning of World War II and about how that church provided a place of comfort during the early years of a war that seemed fraught with dread.  It dawned on me that I’d been regarding Muldraugh Baptist Church as a cardboard cut-out.

I began going to Mr. Ennis’s house every Thursday afternoon and that investment of time in what Charles Gerkin has called a “living human document” was a major part of what taught me that my books were good beginning points. The substance of my ministry, though, would occur as I immersed myself in the narrative of this particular group of people. When I learned their stories, which in turn composed their Story, I learned that Muldraugh Baptist Church wasn’t at all “typical.”  This congregation possessed depth, character, and texture.

It was about this time that I encountered James Hopewell’s insights in his book, Congregation: Stories and Structures, published after his death. Hopewell illuminated how each congregation possesses stories which the congregants know, or at least sense, and these stories define what sorts of programs and ministries will be successful. It behooves pastoral leadership to know the stories before they try to introduce innovative initiatives. Otherwise, you’re dead in the water before your ship is even launched.  You could very well learn this truth at a painful deacon’s meeting.

RAY BARFIELD is an Associate Professor of Pediatrics and Christian Philosophy at Duke University in Durham, North Carolina. He received his MD and his PhD (in philosophy) from Emory University. He is a pediatric oncologist with an interest in the intersection of medicine, philosophy, theology and literature.

RAY BARFIELD is an Associate Professor of Pediatrics and Christian Philosophy at Duke University in Durham, North Carolina. He received his MD and his PhD (in philosophy) from Emory University. He is a pediatric oncologist with an interest in the intersection of medicine, philosophy, theology and literature.

This lesson, first learned more than 25 years ago, comes to me again as I work with Support Teams in our community.  It reminds me that compassionate listening stands as perhaps the greatest skill I can develop and nurture. Indeed, in reading the reflections of a physician by the name of Ray Barfield, active engagement in the narratives of the people we serve is essential for all versions of health care providers. As Barfield says, “If we want a better medicine, we have to become better . . . storytellers.” In a beautiful phrase, Barfield describes the people we serve as “mortals telling stories on the threshold of mystery.” When the people we serve understand that we’re empathetic participants in the ongoing narratives of their lives – where they’ve confronted tragedy, handled adversity, and found some measure of humor and resolution – we go a long way toward weaving a community of health and wholeness.

I’ve come to see our Support Team effort as one means of entering into and nurturing the collective narrative of the communities in which we live. As such, there isn’t really a template for making Support Teams happen beyond being present, listening, and blessing. Indeed, we’re all mortals telling stories on the threshold of mystery.

Lesson #6: Why Do Pastors Resist Something Soooo Good? (Part 1)

Behind every beautiful church facade are multiple congregational challenges. This is Independent Presbyterian Church in Birmingham, Alabama.

Behind every beautiful church facade are multiple congregational challenges. This is Independent Presbyterian Church in Birmingham, Alabama.

Lesson #6 has to do with the resistance to Support Teams that I’ve encountered among pastors and, indeed, it comes in two parts. Here’s Part One and it’s a heart-felt sympathetic description of why one encounters resistance. There’s a good reason for it. Part Two will come next Wednesday (March 9, 2016), and it’ll be a little more prescriptive.

Ever since I arrived in Birmingham and began working here at UAB, I’ve had this developing dream. Wouldn’t it be cool if there were a network of churches around the region, in metropolitan Birmingham as well as in the surrounding counties, where we had a cadre of coaches in partnership with our Department of Pastoral Care trained to launch support teams for discharged patients coming into their communities? After all, I’ve reasoned, it’s in the DNA of congregations to visit the sick, embrace the disenfranchised, and nurture community. A network of coaches in partner churches actively supporting discharged patients could make a huge contribution to the kind of environment necessary for healing and wholeness. Such a network could even prevent a number of persons from being readmitted to the hospital.

Naturally, this has led me to talk with dozens of pastors. As a former senior pastor, myself, with 26 years of congregational experience, I anticipated some resistance, and indeed I’ve encountered it, and even more than understanding it, I identify with it completely.

You see, if you’re a pastor you’re compelled to live out some basic duties which define the profession and to which you know you must devote quality time. The result? Simply preparing Bible studies, planning worship, doing the research and reflection necessary to craft a sermon every week, writing the sermon, visiting folks hospitalized and homebound parishoners, doing pastoral counseling, and lubricating the institutional infrastructure constitute more than a full time job.

Even a relatively small church presents its pastor with a rich texture of challenges.

Even a relatively small church presents its pastor with a rich texture of challenges.

And then, as if that weren’t enough to deal with, before you’ve pastored a given church for more than a week, you start getting calls, emails, or brochures from well meaning individuals or organizations announcing that they have a ministry, program, or offering that will solve all your pastoral and congregational problems. I got them every day of my 26 year ministry as a senior pastor. Here’s an organization that does marriage enrichment in order to solve your church’s divorce problem. There’s an organization that offers clever financial planning that’ll heal all your budgetary problems. And yonder is a fine, committed and “godly” cadre of experienced pastors who’ll teach you how to overcome your church’s lack-of-growth problem. Believe me – these are a tiny fraction of stuff I’d get every week, almost every day. You know what? The vast bulk of that material immediately got deleted or thrown in the trash without me even bothering to read them. One pastor with whom I met just this week (March 1, 2016) told me that he simply does not take sales calls.

And then – and THEN – there were those activists who had problems they wanted ME to solve, by means of my church. These would be on behalf of human trafficking, or race relations, or abortion, or voting for God’s candidate, or world hunger day, or homeless intervention. That list was even longer than the solve-your-church-problems list, and many of the issues were worthy. At first, I felt terrible about throwing away brochures with pictures of hungry children, for example, but honestly, we felt like we were already doing everything we were able to do on a number of fronts. I knew there were only so many causes I could promote without completely diluting the congregational focus. If we heeded every appeal that came across my desk, we’d be like Bilbo Baggins in “The Fellowship of the Ring” when he told Gandalf that he felt “thin, sort of stretched, like butter scraped across too much bread.”

I’m acutely aware of this when I speak to pastors about our Support Team Network. I know that ideally, when fully deployed in the congregation, a well developed Support Team strategy will help lift pastoral burdens, because it spreads the care around, activates the talents of a wide variety of church members, and can prevent folks from “falling through the cracks.” But when I shove a Support Team brochure in the face of an already overwhelmed, busy pastor, they feel like swatting it away. I understand this.

So, what to do? Well, here it is again: nothing works for long without the growth of a trusting relationship, and reducing the kind of resistance I’ve described above is no exception. Next week, I’ll offer a few insights that have emerged for me regarding successful partnering.

“Community is Medicine”

Clint Eastwood as "The Outlaw Josey Wales"

Clint Eastwood as “The Outlaw Josey Wales”

I love the Geico commercial that has fun with the “loner cowboy.”  Have you seen it?  The cowboy sits on his horse while his girl comes running out weeping hysterically and yelling, “Don’t go, Jessie!”  He says, “I’m sorry, Daisy, but I’m a loner.  And a loner has to be alone.”  He then kicks his horse and goes riding off (only to slam his head against the letter “E” when “The End” appears across the screen – if you’ve seen it, it makes humorous sense).  I love the commercial, not because of the insurance, but because of the way it recognizes, and has a little fun with, that iconic staple of the American Western: the Rugged Individual.

Of course, that Rugged Individual motif shows up in far more serious narratives, like the movie “The Outlaw Josey Wales,” starring an icon in his own right, Clint Eastwood.  In that movie, Eastwood portrays a former Confederate soldier, Josey Wales, whose wife and son are murdered by shadowy Union sympathizers.  Wells then sets out on the proverbial path of revenge, riding by himself from town to town hunting down the perpetrators of the crime.  He intends to ride alone, nursing his grief and rage.  As he rides, however, he reluctantly assembles a motley crew of other victims of Western movie peril until he has a veritable entourage going from place to place with him.  Finally, they find a ranch outside a town, which they all defend in an expected gunfight, and then Wales rides into town to confront – and dispatch – the ring leader of the aforementioned shadowy Union sympathizers.

Josey-Wales-filmHowever, when Wales returns to the tavern after the demise of the last villain, a US Marshall sits in the corner, a hat pulled down over his face, with his searing eyes glinting through the shadow of the brim.  Wales and the Marshall lock eyes.  Standing around the tavern, though, are the members of Wales’ motley assemblage.  One of them looks at Wales and says, “Hello, Mr. Jones!  This marshall here is looking for an outlaw by the name of Josey Wales.  You know anything about him?”  And everyone else in the bar participates in the ruse.  The marshall obviously knows that everyone’s lying, but he’s also impressed with the fact that Wales is so loved.  So, as he and Wales continue to look at one another, the Marshall says, “Mr. Jones, you’re a very fortunate man to have so many good friends.” And he rides away.

The point?  Even rugged individuals can’t do it alone.

Recently, Krista Tippet, who hosts the NPR program, “On Being,” interviewed three medical professionals in a program entitled, “The Evolution of Medicine.”  One of the three professionals was Mark Hyman, a physician and the director of the Cleveland Clinic Center for Functional Medicine.  I was struck by how Dr. Hyman spoke of the power of community for healing sickness.  In fact, he said that “the power of community is central to health care,” and then later made it even stronger when he said, “. . . community IS medicine.”  Dr. Hyman and the other participants made it clear that as 21st century medical practice evolves, more and more attention needs to be paid to the power of community to support and heal the individual.  In fact, the three panelists emphasized that more than ever, we need to realize that most of our problems – and the solutions to them – are systemic in nature.

Even that rugged individualist, The Outlaw Josey Wales, discovered that his community became the support system that solved his problem.  Likewise, as we learn more about what makes for a life filled with health and well being, we increasingly see how important it is to pay attention to the systems of which each of us is a part.  Indeed, as we organize Support Teams for folks we know, in Mark Hyman’s words, we’re actually doing a very important form of medicine.  Community heals.  I’ve often described what we do with Support Teams as nurturing community and the more I do this, read, and interact with members of this amazing hospital community at UAB, I know that medicine isn’t just what the physicians and nurses do around the hospital bed or in the rehab clinic.  When we prepare meals for one another, assist with chores, listen to each other’s stories, or simply sit with each other in silence, we’re participating in a healing process – because community IS medicine!

The last thing we need to do is ride off and try to do this thing alone.

The Ministry of Watching Football

“What do I love to do?” the young man asked. He opened his palms upward and shrugged his shoulders. With a laugh he said, “I love to watch football.” Others in the room laughed with him.

watching footballThe man had responded to a question I’d asked a couple of months ago while I was in Tuscaloosa. I’d been invited to talk about the Support Team Network at a large, active church. One of the principles we preach here at the STN is that volunteers who participate on Support Teams should always do what they love to do. I’d asked people to tell the group what they loved to do. One person had said she loved to cook. Another said that he loved to do yard work. It was easy for me to use those folks as examples of activities that could make a Support Team really useful to someone convalescing at home. For a moment, I was stumped.

But then a woman across the room spoke up. She pointed at the young man and said, “Well . . . I could use you. I have a friend convalescing at home who likes to watch football, too, and his care giver – his wife – can’t stand to watch football. If you’d go and sit with him and watch the games with him, she could get a break! It’d give her a chance to get out of the house.”

“Oh,” said the young man. All over the room, people were nodding their heads. After the hour had passed and I prepared to depart, the young man thanked me for coming and said, “I never thought that loving to watch football could actually be a service to someone.”

It drove home an important point. Just about anyone can employ what they love to do to bring care to a family facing a health care challenge. Indeed, who would have thought that watching football could be of service? I’m thankful for the woman in the room who evidently had the skill of thinking outside the box. She challenged me to expand my thinking.

Really – whatever you like to do, has the potential to bless and aid healing for someone in need.  All you have to do is do a little thinking outside the box!

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