October 21, 2018


There are a lot of people in our world who are truly struggling physically, emotionally, spiritually, and financially. I don’t want to make excuses for anyone, but I do want to face reality. That challenges me to put myself into others’ lives, experiences, tragedies, and thought processes. Physically, we have acute illnesses, chronic illnesses,and terminal illnesses. We can understand the differences when they are explained to us by a competent authority in the field of medicine. We consider it a privilege to be with those who have physical ailments, and do all we can to relieve their pain and make their lives comfortable. In many cases, our presence and support are a major aspect of the healing process. When death is imminent, our presence on their journey is a gift to both parties. My family and so many others are grateful for the privilege. I have also had the opportunity of accompanying many others as friends, neighbors, and parishioners when they have had physical pain and suffering in their lives. We seem to understand health issues when they affect the body.

However, there are so many among the human community whose illnesses are psychological and/or emotional. Granted, for many of us, these are much more difficult to grasp, and they challenge us to try to understand conditions that at times defy comprehension. There are so many aspects to mental health. I believe it is true to say that society finds it much more difficult to be sympathetic or empathetic toward those struggling emotionally. Many times, this can be the result of not knowing a true diagnosis or believing that people should be able to overcome psychological illness by willing themselves to get better. As with physical conditions, some of those affected by emotional issues are able to live at home, be treated with medication, get therapy, and possibly be treated on an out-patient basis. Others may live in residential or treatment centers or may be hospitalized.

When children are emotionally struggling, many will respond and surround them and their families. Teenagers present another challenge, because at times they are unable to cooperate due to so many other experiences and issues going on in their lives. Unfortunately, when the psychological struggles lead to criminal behavior and the teenager or adult enters the court system, it can lead to incarceration. Many of the other support systems are then no longer available, and the services available in the prison become the main source of treatment.

All of this being said, I just want to remind myself periodically that some peoples’ life experiences are just tragic. I want to always be aware that everyone does not have the same opportunities or privileges. I want to remind myself that no matter how determined some may be to recover and recuperate, it can be a lifelong process. And I always want to be aware that everyone is created in God’s image, and that I am blessed to be in their presence. It can be frustrating when I think that everyone should be able to make decisions and choices that enhance their lives. Wanting to do something and being emotionally able to follow through with that desire can be insurmountable for some. 

That discovery changes everything.

Enjoy Life!

Fr. Coyne


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