Confessions of a Weary Psychiatric Chaplain

2013-05-14 17.12.08

Some weeks are exhausting. There is not enough of me to go around. I am overwhelmed by the tasks and the needs placed before me. Weariness adds to the winter darkness.

Isaiah’s words could be my own this week:  I have labored in vain, I have spent my strength for nothing and vanity…

  • I do not understand a healthcare system that lets money determine medical care.

For the poor, the refugee, the homeless, those who live with severe and persistant symptoms of mental illness, I pray. Lead them to places of safety and compassion where their physical needs may be properly and fully attented to. Open my eyes to the full humanity of today’s outcast.

Lord, have mercy.

  • I do not understand a mental health system that leaves the most vulnerable among us exposed to further suffering.

For those who live with cognitive impairment and cannot manage life on their own, I pray. Lead them to places of hope, support, and sanctuary where they are accepted and offered healing and grace. Reveal to me the Christ in all whom we meet.

Lord, have mercy.

  • I do not understand a society that wants to blame gun violence on people with undiagnosed or untreated mental illness and not on the easy access to guns obtained illegally.

For those who have lost loved ones to the incomprehensible acts of shootings in schools, in theaters, in houses of worship, in grocery stores, or on our streets, I pray. Comfort those who mourn and direct the hearts and actions of those who seek to prevent more murders. Show me the path to safety for all your children.

Lord, have mercy.

  • I do not understand economists who predict a total recovery from the recession when we are a country that has been at war for more than a decade.

For all those who live in the shadow of war—the veterans who live with scars both visible and invisible, the families destroyed by loss, those who live in places with daily bombings, the refugees, the unemployed, the poor, and the hungry—I pray. Strengthen the cause of the peacemakers, shine the light of hope on the hopeless, and bring wisdom to those who lead. Guide my feet in the way of peace.

Lord, have mercy.

  • I do not understand the silence of those who proclaim Christ when injustice is perpetrated on those without the ability to advocate for themselves.

For the victims and those who think themselves powerless, I pray. Raise the voices of those who proclaim justice and for those who would do something if they thougth they could, grant the courage to act on behalf of those who suffer. Let your light shine in this darkness.

Lord, have mercy.

Do not, O God, withhold your mercy from me; let your steadfast love and your faithfulness keep me safe forever.

2013-02-16 15.25.51RCL – Year A – Second Sunday after Epiphany – January 19, 2014

Isaiah 49:1-7
Psalm 40:1-11
1 Corinthians 1:1-9
John 1:29-42


About rachaelkeefe

Hi. I am a pastor, an author, a painter, and a poet. My latest book is available now to order from Chalice Press, The Lifesaving Church: Faith Communities and Suicide Prevention (
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