Reflections for the Week of July 22, 2019


If you think you are being religious, but can’t control your tongue, you are fooling yourself, and your religion is useless. James 1:26

Sticks and stones may break my bones, but words can never harm me. Do you remember hearing that when you were a child? I certainly did – but I know now and experienced then that statement is not true. Words have a deep capacity to hurt.

That was true when I was a child and it is true now – what people say can hurt – whether it is a mean comment directly to me, or gossip about me it can wound. Even difficult things that need to be said can be said in a way that helps or in a way that hurts. The Bible talks about controlling what we say and that is exactly what we need to do – whether we are talking to our patients and their families, our own families or one another – even the stranger in the store-what we say matters and if we are people of integrity our words need to be both kind and true.

Carol Ross Irwin


Honesty – saying the truth even when it hurts

What is real integrity? One part of integrity is speaking the truth. Speaking the truth is much harder than it sounds, because speaking the truth requires being aware of the truth and knowing how to speak a truth in the way that it can be heard. “Yes that dress is ugly” may be the truth – but it will rarely be heard as the truth. How can you speak a truth that may be hard to hear in a way that allows it be to heard? One of the first things is to determine if it really needs to be said, do you have all the facts involved so that you really know the truth rather than just thinking you know the reality. Ask for more information before you speak, listen for information you did not already know. If the hard truth still needs to be spoken, do it with kindness and understanding.

Rev. Carol Ross Irwin


There is another part of speaking of the power of the tongue. That is the need for us to say positive things as well as avoiding the negative things. Do you think a compliment about someone but never say it? Do you notice what a good job has been done but stay silent? The power of the tongue is immense – we talk about controlling the negative things that you say, but today I want you to think about actually saying the positive things that you see. You have the power to change the lives of those closest to you and the atmosphere in where you work when you actually give voice to the positive things you see in the people around you. You have the power – use it well.

Rev. Carol Ross Irwin


Be as good a person as your dog thinks you are

I have a Bassett hound, named Albert. Albert is a wonderful dog, cute, loving, and lazy. I can always talk about Albert. Albert loves me. He likes my husband, but he truly loves me. There is a saying that I have seen many times that I relate to today – Be as good a person as your dog thinks you are- my dog thinks I am wonderful – able to solve all problems, protect him from thunderstorms and provide for all his needs and most of his wants. He greets me any time I come home –whether it has been 15 minutes or 3 days with great enthusiasm. I hope I act in ways that live out that love and enthusiasm that he has for me.

Rev. Carol Ross Irwin




One part of the definition of integrity is wholeness, i.e. being of one piece rather than multiple pieces. I was interested in this vision of integrity being made up of one whole. It makes me think of a quilt. A quilt is made up of many individual pieces that are stitched together to make one beautiful quilt.  When the pieces of a quilt aren’t part of a unit – they are just a rag, but together make what can be a beautiful memory. One thing that is sometimes done now is the t-shirts of a children’s activities are used to create a beautiful quilt of memories when the child goes off to college or to be on their own. It takes separate units of activities over time to make one unit that holds many different memories.

Trinity should be like that – many different individuals from many different departments make one unit. Working together we create that one thing that provides warmth and caring – but as soon as one part seems to break away the whole things is less valuable. When we remember that we believe in integrity we want to remember that we are one unit working together.

Rev. Carol Ross Irwin


Not everyday is going to be the perfect day, live anyway.

Not all you love will love you back, love anyway

Not everyone will tell you the truth, be honest anyway.

Be the example that the world needs more of.

Found on facebook attributed to Unstoppable mother

Rev. Carol Ross Irwin



Live so when you die the preacher doesn’t have to lie.

Have you ever been to a funeral and wondered who they were talking about? That wonderful caring person you are hearing about didn’t match the prickly, grumbling neighbor that you knew. Having been the person doing the funeral it is sometimes difficult to be both honest and comforting. How we live day to day will be the key to what people remember about us. It is far more important to be a person of integrity and compassion everyday than to hope for a big heroic moment that may never come.

Rev. Carol Ross Irwin