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HumorOutcasts Interview with Mary Farr - If I Could Mend Your Heart


And well hello everyone and welcome to the pie guest. My name is Billy Dis and I'm here today on behalf of humor outcasts dot com. And that's all part of a great group of Publishers Including H. O. Press Shore House Books Corner Office bowl to to give a big shoutout to Donna. Cavanagh if you haven't had a chance yet do checkout humor. Outcast DOT com the place to take a humor break. There's new content posted there pretty much every day. Some very talented folks over there on the phone with me today is marry for. How're you doing? Mary Hi I'm wonderful. Thank you have a Nice Spring Day here? But you're making me smile because I actually write humor for Donna. Even though that's not the topic we're going to talk about today. But I do I was. I was just writing a blog about the humor of going to church on zoom on. Might it's mighty silly well. That's that sounds interesting to check that out. Mary has been on the program before and she is the author of the book. If I could mend your heart and our podcast today is Kinda Kinda deal with a lot of the themes. That's in that book which is around the subject of grief and managing grief and how different types of sorrow can be certainly due to the loss of life but any event or circumstance which will impact our lives. Many people are strongly being impacted right now by the Kobe. Nineteen and all of the quarantines and all of the isolation that is is is causing a lot of problems folks. And that's something we're going to talk about today even though these are difficult times. And you know it's a it's a complex subject but this is not going to be a heavy depressing discussion. Mary's message is that oftentimes carving out. An alternative and positive path in life can be part of how we manage stress and difficult times now. You're you're somewhere different than when you when we last talk. Where are you at now Mary? What part of the world are you coming from well? I haven't gone too far. I'm in Minnesota and Wisconsin originally and I live in a little country town west of the twin cities. West of Minneapolis to a little town called Mound Minnesota. Excuse me Love it. It's just I think I like being out of the city. I grew up in a small town in Wisconsin. So I kind of enjoyed that always had horses and so lots of reasons to like the country and that's where I am again. That is fantastic. Now you your career You've dealt with helping people to recover from various things trauma and so forth and and to give them home. How did your journey on this career path begin? Well it actually began in old Claire I am a member of the Episcopal Church and I was ordained in the Episcopal Church in one thousand nine hundred eighty four and that was the time when there really were too lot of women being ordained particularly in this tradition. So I Started looking around where I like to work and even trying to find a position in church was not that simple so during the course of my studies divinity studies. We were expected to take a course. It's a several year course called clinical pastoral education and really what that's really about teaching ministers how to be a minister in a hospital in a healthcare setting. So it's a very it's a very different focus it. It certainly includes elements of of face traditions. Not Not Always Christianity. I've worked as a hospital. A director of hospital chaplaincy and I had people from all kinds of faith. Traditions working for me but So basically what that amounts to is you rather than thinking about Church doctrine or theology. It's more focused on the practice and the practice is really about compassionate presence being a presence to people who are suffering in one way or the other but I loved. I enjoyed hearing people's stories and I think just the idea of meeting many many interesting people meeting them at times of their lives when they talked Told the truth talked about subjects. That were important things that I always took a great interest in but I also am a writer so creating stories and thinking about how this experience can help others has always been an interest to me as well so I put together the two communications. I've really made my living as a communicator. As a writer and an author as well but more more as a writer for healthcare number fields. But the it's the storytelling and the opportunity to meet people. It really important times in their lives and learning about them. So that's really how it got started. And then combining that with writing. Sure now you. You seem to have a pretty consistent theme. I'll say certain message regarding certain types of losses and setbacks we all have in life. Can you tell us a little bit more about why you feel? It is important to incorporate these message into the Times of Today. And especially with all that's going on with the quarantines and everything else well. I think I kind of begin from the premise. That change and loss are just plain part of the fabric. Should we live in and to think otherwise? We're going to live the high points and the perfect life is is just kind of certainly naive. If not foolish so having said that my I think my approach is how do we? How do we create a larger picture in which we can experience joy and good health and wellbeing by living with all these things together? I mean what joy is really not about specific highpoints. It's about how do we combine our setbacks and those setbacks we have all the time. How can we look at them as opportunities to be creative? My answer to that with the Yes. Can we look at a maybe a qualities that we each have that we've not thought about that can play a role in our being well and are recovering from losses? Just think of all the things we lose we have kids. Leaving home we have divorces. We have illness. We have a good things that fit into all of that but to think that we're not going to escape or that we're going to escape without running into some major factor is really naive. So let's prepare for it and let's think about how we can come up with a balance and a sense of renewal after we have these kinds of experiences. You know and I mean life is really about renewal so looking at it in that respect seems a little more. Wholesome and hopeful sure absolutely. Does that make sense? Because now we're having a terrible loss we really are. And but then that requires some introspection. What really matters to us for example this business of isolation I am I feel fortunate to be in a little town but I've gone across the street. And there's a little methodist church that has a giant community gardens. Send the backyard so I rented a garden space while I'm really looking forward to this. This is very simple but it's renewing to me sure and I think looking at those things that are really helpful for us. Simple things of daily basis really helped with `isolation and the case that we're in right now and fear I mean it's it's a scary time. Obsolete is in entering into unchartered territory for short now speaking of isolation a lot of US may have friends. We may have family. That aren't dealing with it too well and we've talked about this before but it can be very awkward. I guess is maybe a good word to approach somebody who's in a painful state and emotional painful state. What what advice. Wannabe some of your suggestions approaching someone. Who's in it can be grief? Maybe SOME SORT OF LAWS. Maybe the loss of lifestyle. Now how would you? What would be your your some of your suggestions for how to approach that well as a talk it as a chaplain right now. So like one of the things work many years in a children's hospital and I can remember one day talking to one of our neonatologist and that's the physician that takes care of the tiny newborns that are born to really and and many many bad things happened as well as good things loss loss of life and disabilities and things that are tragic for families but so we talked one day about his role and our role as chaplains. And I said what what is there a particular thing that you can say that you think applies to both of us and he said yes I can. He said there are three things. Show Up. Listen and tell the truth and you know what it's right on and it's what really is important even though it's awkward sometimes scary for us to talk. You know we think. Oh my gosh. We're bothering somebody. Oh it's a private time. Oh what's this or I don't know what to say anyway. That's really not true because we don't really have to say a lot. My daughter had a friend who lost a baby during childbirth and she was so desperate. She was not living in the same town at that time. And I said you know what caller up and tell her you love her and you'll talk to her later and so it can be quite simple. It doesn't have to be a script it doesn't have to be heavy but leaving food door or offering to take the pets for a walk or pick up children at school. They're they're pretty basic things that make people feel less isolated. But they don't have to be too complicated. The main thing is don't be afraid of it but we don't have a lot of practice you don't get a lot of practice but I thought that show up. Listen and listening is is probably the hard part because we bought a fix everything. Sure so. It's pretty hard to just take in a story without judgment and it's really important. Adult people who feel heard also feel cared for. I really believed that's true. That would certainly make sense. When you're offering condolences or just comforting. Somebody you've mentioned before when we talked about. I'll call them little platitudes of one kind or another and one of the ones one of the ones that I wrote down here. This just makes me nuts when I hear people say it was meant to be and I know that it's it's meant in some good way when I'm in that state and somebody says something like that I don't know why it grates on my nerves. Can you speak about that a little bit? What would what are some of the things that you should offer up? Well first of all I think those kinds of statements and that could be. Oh everything happens for a reason. Oh God wouldn't give you anymore. You're strong God wouldn't give you any more than you can handle. Well that's not true. A frankly I've talked to an awful lot of people who have a lot more than they can handle. I felt that way and I bet maybe you have to. Don't tell me yet. Don't tell me something like that. This is more than I can handle. Thank you very much but I think in it too. I want to be very cautious here. Because it's not fair to blame when again. I think there's an awkwardness and a desire to try to fix you and suggest that you know everything will turn out alright. It might or might not but I again I think if given an opportunity to be heard and just simply say. Tell me how you feel. Tell me what's happened and just simply listened without judgment. I can give you a couple of examples that that I have seen for example not terribly communist children's Hospital with a birth center and a newborn intensive care center a mother who loses a child at birth or maybe a premature birth and some a well-meaning friend will say you know you're young go home and get pregnant again. I think no. There's no way to understand the pain of that loss unless you ask her and give her the time and the space to recover from that without trying to fix it so that would one and the other thing is. I think we were in our effort to be helpful. Really want to suggest. Why don't you do this or someone husband died and now trying to fix them up with a neighbor or something all well intended but just stop and think listen and that's really hard to do without talking. I chaplain wants. Who said I'm so glad I finally learned to take every opportunity to keep my mouth shut. Ed a big lesson boy. Yeah we want to jump right in there and try to fix. Of course we do and we feel badly. It isn't Nobody means to be unkind. I don't think but being brave just kind of being brave and sitting with the discomfort of somebody who might cry who might express real frustration. It's not going to hurt just simply let it happen and and not be afraid to come into the rope. That's the other thing you know people kind of rate to come into the room you don't you don't have to be. You will be blessed for it if you can. Just be Kirk do it. Yeah well the you know. Listening across the board is is a lost art. And certainly a time like this. It's so much more important in the first place because being heard and trying to put yourself in that situation accurately is very important to try to understand what what the person is going through so along those veins you had mentioned someone. Someone has passed away and a lot of times. People do want to try something. So what are some of the little things that you can do in that situation to Provide Comfort? I think things that feel like sort of routines Now I live in a a town on community. But it's very I would say it's a gregarious. It's designed in such a way. So we see our neighbors and I have a neighbor who has had a terrible loss but one of her children actually. It's it's an addiction situation. That's turned into a life threatening one and you know I just one day walked past her and she has a little dog and I said in the morning so I don't have to walk in the dark rather than saying how `Bout Fictional arc in the morning I wanted. I wanted to partner. It's winter I don't really want to go out in the dark and take a fall and would you like to do this. And she says and it wasn't always easy to get up and get ready dressed for cold weather but we've done it all winter long and she and I both have found a great deal of comfort and doing this including watching going down the Dakota trail and looking at what starting to grow in bud and bloom but it's kind of simple routine stuff then a couple of others who've had equal terrible hell sings going on and and they're really isolated because they can't be out anywhere started cooking little things leading cookies leaving they sound kind of old homespun and simple but you know symbols not bad also. Those kinds of things have been helpful and I do think if you can kind of find a way if you understand a person's routine or what they need. It's if you get a little creative you can find a way to get inside of that just Just night before. Last I looked out in here came birthday parade of cars through Dallas Street and around in front of a girl. She's a high school senior. Who was graduating was feeling of course very sad and locked up at home and everything and here came all these cars with balloons and honking and and I always seems eappen. We've seen this on television. But I'm telling you that girl was just delighted beyond tears so it was pretty simple to do you know they were just bringing balloons and stuffed toys and singing and whatnot. But I think trying to understand what a person's experiences on I'm noticing. People are having all different kinds of experiences with this covert sheltering at home. I of course wait. All isolated knows one but the loss of work is also the loss of proteins men. A feeling of not having anything to contribute. I can find myself feeling that way. Who Cares you know? I don't have anything to offer here anymore. I like to contribute something. Sure so but kind of being creative and trying to take the focus away from myself because that's pretty easy to get stuck in that whole to sure you know and just think all right. Is there one person in my neighborhood that I believe is struggling? And what simple thing could I do to bring a little joy to that person's day the woman next door to me lost very young couple lost her husband. She got to strapping boys. Who must eat her out of house and home so I kind of go toward food came up with the meatloaf and things like that. It made one day a little easier for sure and so much one little break. It doesn't have to be extraordinary but I think just for the courage to step into someone's life might be the biggest step we we think over. We'd better leave him alone. Leave him alone you know. They got a surly somebody else and are always talking with them and everything will be fine. But I'd walk right up if they if they say no. Thank you fine but doesn't doesn't hurt to try absolutely in these times and I know that hope is very much a part of your themes is one of those things that you kind of have running through everything that you do and obviously hope can be for a lot of people maybe they. They're they're isolated. Maybe they're not working finances are becoming a problem There doesn't seem to be a definitive end to a lot of the quarantines and some other things so it's easy to you know jump into that whole what would be what I guess your your message of hope people across the board in whatever situation they may be in. You Know I. I mentioned a little something at the beginning about this idea of life is always about. Everything's about renewal. Everything grows and renewed in this. Everything is kind of about renewal. We get sick. We get well so I think this idea of transforming and finding renewal is a real one. I think that's a real possibility. So I had speaking of Donna Cavanagh. I visit her year or so a year ago and did a presentation to a big group at Beautiful Beautiful Episcopal Church downtown on Pittsburgh and it was a nice group of people and then we got to the end of the presentation and some Fellow in the front's role stood up and said to me Well I'd just like to tell you that I'm homeless. And I think he maybe had a street ministry of some kind and he he must have had a an association at least somewhat association with the Church members. Maybe that maybe that was a safe place to bring people in from time to time anyway. He said I I I'm on the street at my colleagues and my friends are homeless. How do I talk to them about well? That created quite a conversation and it really. I went home and I thought you know you need to sink even more of this because we can't just say we're GONNA run around and hope for the best or there's always something to hope for or whatever that doesn't help so I wrote. I wrote a little something and it's just a couple lines long but let me read it to and because there's a colonel in it that I think matters. So here's what I've written. I believe hope is larger than wishes. Hope believes that life can emerge from. Even the most difficult circumstances hope defies all boundaries and refuses to accept misery as an option and hope is a sign that we can trust and anticipate future. Good and that's the part I think is real possible really possible so someone may have died. We can't fix that. Some a relationship may have ended a job. Any number of things may have happened that we we cannot fix but I honestly believe that we can always anticipate future good and it may not come in that way. But we'll and I think if that's sounds honest and authentic. I hope it does because I do think that's true. And I've I've tested most of the stuff myself or I wouldn't need to be blathering around about it but I I do find that the losses I've experienced something has grown something goodwill goodwill always come from here but well anyway back to that idea of everything happens for a reason. I don't really believe that but I do think that good things do sometimes happen after one experienced a something not so good and it's up to come right out of left field and if we can keep our eyes open and be aware and anticipate that good can come again. I think we're very likely to see it and experience it So that I guess that's kind of I'd go with that that it it may not be the same kind of good but it will be something and I truly have had that personally and I've I've witnessed it with family and friends and certainly people that I worked with and patients on how well I I very much can feel that when you say. I've talked to a lot of people over the years and you have a tendency to get a feeling for when someone is being authentic and when they're not new certainly come across someone who truly feels passionate about these words and I have no doubt that you manager life by them now. The book is cold if I could mend your heart. And it's by Mary far and that's F. A. R. It is available on Amazon. And obviously you can check that out. Now we talked before the show the publisher Donna Cavanagh. And you have been working out something for nonprofit organizations and other groups to get a hold of this book. I don't know what the details already went to add anything to that. I'm going to give the email addresses. Well well I think the point is sometimes a church or an organization will call and say you know we really would like to gift boxes or we'd like to do something for one hundred people or for fifty people or something like that and she. She has been offering them a very fair discount. If that's something that that appeals to people okay so that and her her email if you want to share that with them that would be sure others head right here you can email Donna. Cavanagh and the email address is Donna at H. O. Peres Hyphen Shore House. Books DOT COM. And if your organization as marriages spoke about and you feel that this material could help people do get a hold of Donna and She will try to make it as easy as possible to get that information in their hands. You know there's something I would like to add about the and that is the the. My niece illustrated it and this was after her mother died at a very young age. And this this was something that came up for her that she certainly wasn't expecting but when I invited her to do the illustrations she was thrilled. And it's launched her career as a graphic artist and she's illustrating books now had it came right out of loss. That is fantastic name. Her name was Hannaford her pictures in it too. And she's done beautiful illustrations. That's fantastic now. Where can people find out more about you? Dummy website social media anything. You'd like to put out there so maybe people can check out some of your online information. I do have a website and its desire to inspire dot net. But it's actually desire dash to dash inspire dot net. The books I all the books are on there and blog a little and I'd love to hear from people. They wonderful a lot of good information here Mary once again. I'll say it one more time the name of the book if I could mend your heart by Mary. Far Great Book. Very hopeful book. Do Check it out. Mary thank you very much for sharing this information on the podcast today. Well I certainly appreciate. This is wonderful. Thank you yes. And we'd like to think obviously Donna Cavanagh. Who suggested this all the fine people that humor outcast DOT COM h. o? Press Shore House books. Thank you for listening to our podcast today. And we'll be talking to you again very soon. Thanks again bye. Bye

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