This week’s column draws from a story told by a transgender rabbi, then relates that to a suicide prevention hotline and counseling in jail, ending with a twist on a tale from the Gospel of Luke.

If that makes you a bit light-headed, sit down, rest, try not to fall down. . .though it may help ground you.

Here’s an excerpt from,

After the Fall: On the Ground with the Fallen

It sounds like a religious question: what do we do after the fall? Have you been a first responder, present when someone has fallen? A physical fall can be a serious medical event. So can an emotional fall. How we respond says a great deal about our empathy and “how low we can go.”

I always appreciate this kind of anecdote, a contemporary parable illustrating both the weakness and wonder of human nature. I find the rabbi’s story a very apt description of what a conscientious chaplain would do, or any ethically-conscious person. Let’s get to the ground-level with this: any sensitive, thoughtful person would do that—“get down on the ground” with one who is suffering. Not trying to “rescue” the person or “fix” the situation. Start by being there, being present, compassionately listening, aware of what’s happening here and now, with this unique individual. Conscious of what we can do, and what we can’t do, or shouldn’t do.

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