Why This Blog?

“Because I didn’t know any better.”

That’s what a 90-year-old, terminally ill patient with heart disease said to me when I first started in the field of hospice care a couple of years ago. We were engaged in a life review discussion in which patients reflect upon  the highs and lows of their lives. He brought up the subject of God and how, as a teen, he had been a strong believer.

“Lot of good it did me, though,” he said. “Look at me. Look at my life. It’s been a train wreck.”

“What happened to your faith?” I asked.

“What do you think?” he quickly shot back, his stare, piercing. “You’re an adult; it just stopped working. The older you get, the less sense it makes.”

The sharpness in his tone told me to cut short the questions but I had one more. “Why do you think you had such a strong faith when you were young?”

“Because I didn’t know any better. It was make-believe, like the tooth fairy. At least, I used to get a few quarters out of that deal.”

I walk away from every life review discussion with new thoughts to ponder. Some confirm my own beliefs while others challenge them.

Many are inspiring, especially the people who have made God and faith the centerpieces of their lives. There was the gospel singer with throat cancer who told me she had never missed a single worship service until she became ill. To the day she died, she made it a point each Sunday to whisper the hymns from her bed.

Some are disturbing. A man, who would later die of cirrhosis of the liver, once confessed to me that he had been a burglar for two years as a young man. “Best days of my life,” he boasted. “Lucky was I to find the Lord later. But I’ll probably pay for those days – and soon.”

I keep drifting back, though, to the conversation with the patient who dubbed his life a train wreck. I think about his take on faith, about it making less sense the older he got.

Every so often, I’ve felt that way, too. I’ve been in the train wrecks; I’ve wondered about the logic of faith. But make-believe? God – a tooth fairy?

Why Read This Blog?

Faith Checks is a blog for those who are interested in all things related to faith – believers and non-believers. As you will see in my first post (Barrels of Oil and Buckets of Faith), it’s a place to fill up on faith.

To believe in God is to collect the evidence, a project that takes a lifetime. The good news is that the evidence is all around us. For me, it’s the way the sunrise makes itself known like an urgent bulletin and how a child’s smile does the same thing. It’s the nurse with the reassuring touch gently holding a patient’s hand or the teacher’s aide with the white cane teaching kids Braille. It’s a concert hall of strings and reeds or a willow tree’s family of lady bugs.

This site welcomes your stories, your takes on this thing we call faith. Bring on the evidence – for or against.

About Rich Kenney

I am a Christian, a Catholic who remembers and appreciates the good works of the Sisters of Charity of Nazareth. They were my teachers at Archbishop Williams High School in Braintree, Massachusetts, who paved the way for my thirty-year career in social work. They knew about faith and they left an impression.


9 Responses to About

  1. Alexandra Jump says:

    thank you so much for finding me and leaving a trail for me to find you. Best of luck on the blog journey. I have found many readers who have become friends over the years through the blog and my life is so much richer for it. Now to check out your book, I just finished a read this morning and am was looking for something new.

  2. Jason Walker says:

    Wow, Rich…I sure am glad you commented on my blog this morning, because from what I’ve seen of yours it will ressonate with me! Consider me a new follower!

  3. Dee's B's says:

    love your heart Rich- can’t wait to hear more of your stories!!

  4. Hi Rich,

    Thanks for visiting and commenting on my blog. I volunteered for two years with a non profit called Senior Life that spent time with the elderly by encouraging, assisting, loving, talking and sharing life with. I watched them slowly die, more than some of their families. I agree, death awakens us to life. – charlie

  5. Hey! Thanks for reading my blog! Meant alot. Seems like you’re doing some great work here! What’s the saying…. “Change the world, one leaf at a time”! Keep it up!

  6. DeeMarie says:

    Rich! Can’t wait for another story… hope life is well for you-Dee

    • Rich Kenney says:

      Thanks, Dee. Should have another post soon. Haven’t been writing as many these days as I have taken on a new position as a professor at a college in Nebraska teaching social work. Hope you are well.

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