Updated: Dec 4, 2021
Letters from a Hospital Bed is a series of reflections by Jim Houston, now entering his 100th year, in which Jim seeks to capture and reflect new insights of his ever-discoverable God, revealed through his own hospitalization, for the encouragement of all care givers.
Thanksgiving (in the US)
November 25, 2021
I am once again experimenting and hope you enjoy this new series of letters…
Your best wishes, including a cartoon from one dear friend, have come just in time to inspire my new book, which to my surprise, my son Chris has suggested I should write! When he was younger, I can still hear him saying to me, “Oh Dad, why do you have to write another book?” Now he and Claire are helping me on a new project. “Letters from a Hospital Bed” will be a new genre, just when I thought I had finished all writing. I have been reflecting on this hospital experience and realizing that all of you, as my world-wide community of friends, have dear ones of your own who are themselves in hospital. For many years, I hated the sight of hospitals. I avoided them. They reminded me so painfully of events in my own childhood that were very difficult. Somehow, I associated them with blood and blood transfusions and so they nauseated me. And yet, so many of us must enter these places to be present and caring to our own loved ones. These letters, I hope, will give you some insight into the experience of the one who is hospitalized, as I am now. I hope to encourage you through our own experience of becoming so deeply dependent on the care of others, for even the most basic of needs. I have had my good days and some not good at all and yet through it all, I find the Lord so present and instructing me. Perhaps, by sharing the lessons we are still learning, I can the better be of encouragement to each of you.
This is by way of an experiment and we will all see how it will unfold. I am not embarking on this project alone. I am working with my son Chris and with my daughter Claire. Chris tells me that for a lifetime he has seen this community of my friends of which you are each a part, as his ‘competition’ for my attention as his father. In the past months, Chris and I have spent time in conversation together such as we have never before enjoyed and we have each noticed the other as I have never before noticed and known him. This intimacy for us both is new and fresh and through it, he shares my compassionate desire that each of you would know the deep love of God that is so faintly reflected in our earthly relationships. And so we are embarking on this letters project together, as a family – for my other children are in their own ways involved - that as a family we might bring you each joy and encouragement and a deeper knowing of God, ‘even as we see the day approaching’. As the apostle John, in his prologue, profoundly is communicating about the uniqueness of the Son of God, so he is also recognizing each of us as men or women, as unique. To have that recognition is to set us free, as men and women. For, if the Son shall make you free, you are free indeed!’ These letters, unlike a book to an audience, are being written to you, as each unique persons, so that you each may know greater freedom in your uniqueness in the Son of God.