Category Archives: Virgil Fry



He knows not his own strength

that hath not met adversity. 

–        Ben Johnson


Lord God,

It’s one of those days.

The kind where everything surges, leaving me overwhelmed.

The kind I try to avoid, try to suppress, try to muster my energy to fight back.

But somehow, today it’s not working.


When others ask how I am, I answer, “Fine.”

When they question my aloofness, I smile.

When they push for honesty, I hesitate.

When they express concern, I thank them.


Why is it Lord, that there are days like this?

Do I dare ask? Do I really want to know?


In my mind’s eye, I rehearse other overwhelmed strugglers.

Like Moses, fed up with exasperating fellow wanderers.

Like Hannah, praying so earnestly that she was deemed drunk.


Bless them, Lord. May they be guided by the wisdom of You, the Great Physician. May they find fulfillment through investment of themselves in the care of others. May they continue to learn skill, patience, and worth for all Your creation. Bless their families who adjust schedules to accommodate the needs of others.


Lord God, Thank you for those whose vocation is medical care.


Through the name of the Ultimate Healer,




Dr. Virgil M. Fry

from his book -Disrupted




In the Valley of the Shadow When Grief and Loss Prevail

Death. To speak the work evokes deep sensations. Sometimes fear. Sometimes anger. Sometimes wonderment. Sometimes acceptance.

From the womb, we are created as survivors. The will to live is powerfully tenacious, a motivator stronger than despair. As do the animal and plant kingdoms, we fight death with our inmost being. We liken death to defeat, to being overtaken by an evil enemy.

Such imagery is not unbiblical. Utopian Garden of Eden quaked at the introduction of humans tasting death. Hebrew characters spent incredible amounts of energy defending the lives of thier people and themselves. The apex to the Christian narrative is a 30-plus year old carpenter’s son facing death squarely in the eye, all the while promising onlookers resurrection for himself and for them. The apostle Paul refers to death as the ultimate enemy, an enemy who has been de-fanged.

We spend our lifetimes dancing with death, though not always consciously. We know that nature’s life cycle depends upon the death of current residents. We acknowledge our daily bread comes at the cost of something dying on our behalf. We confront the harsh, ugly reality of death when a loved one dies, leaving us devastated and robbed.

The valley of the shadow of death is a place of loss, of bereavement, of unspeakable pain. But shadows, over time, lessen their impact as small amounts of light bring snippets of renewal.

With honest expressions of grief, with encouragement from fellow “losers,” and with time, God brings us new resevoirs of faith, hope, and love.

Author: Virgil Fry

First Colony Church of Christ

Invites you to a


Including calling of names of those
we hold dear in our hearts.
For anyone experiencing loss and grief
this holiday season

Sunday, December 20, 2009
4:00 – 5:00 p.m.

Chapel: First Colony Church of Christ
2140 First Colony Blvd.
Sugar Land, TX 77479

Phone (281) 980-7070


After a recently rare and welcomed pleasurable day, I bemoaned to a good friend: “Why can’t the enjoyable things and people in our lives last forever?” He kindly offered this corrective: “You do have the here-and-now you know.”

He’s right. We live in the three time frames of past, present, and future. Past memories, pleasant and painful, are a treasure. Planning for the future builds hope. But we can, oh so easily, let those two dimensions diminish the reality of the here-and-now.

A fellow chaplain shared the personal story of his family’s trip to meet another family for ice cream. Every few miles and minutes, his young son asked the perennial question of impatience: “Are we there yet?” Finally the exasperated Dad curtly replied to his son: “Don’t you understand we’ll never be ‘there.’ We’re always going to be ‘here.’ As soon as we arrive at ‘there’ we are actually ‘here.’ His understandably frustrated son then responded to this unwelcomed sermonette: “You mean we’re not going to get ice cream?”

The ice cream was soon enjoyed. On the road, the son’s past experiences elicited joyful remembrances. Anticipation of an additional pleasing consumption followed. But Dad was right: we always, only, have ‘here’. Paradoxically, when we allow ourselves to focus on ‘here’, our narrow perspectives broaden.

Being fully in the here-and-now means acute awareness of our inner voices. We calm our tumultuous thoughts and emotions. We know beyond doubt we are part of the God-created universe. We notice little things that are easily overlooked as important: the ability to breathe, move and think, the chirping of a nature appreciating bird, the unmerited favor of warm friendships and supportive family, the
sustenance of food and water, the crystalline sounds of soul-stirring music.

I’m at a place in my journey that cries out for these calming moments. Four family members have died within a two year span. That harsh reality shatters my heretofore false sense that family would always remain the same. No promise was
ever made that it would be so, yet I tended to live with that presumptive myth.

Paula D’Arcy strikingly realized that we have choices in our spiritual journey either to cling to others or to hold them. Her husband and daughter died in a car wreck when Paula was three months pregnant. Six months later, she desired but could not deliver her baby naturally. At that point God helped her understand her clutching psyche was desperately preventing delivery. With this epiphany, she gave birth to her daughter while being wheeled into an operating room.

Reflectively she states: As I look at my newborn, I see that she is a girl. She is mine to hold, but not to possess. It makes all the difference. You treat a gift differently than you do a possession. (The Gift of the Red Bird)

Lord God, You made us complex, multi-dimensional beings. With grateful hearts we journey with You, One whose name is “I Am”– God of the precious present. Walk with us, Lord, as we seek to live, really live, in the here-and-now You’ve provided. Amen.

Author: Virgil Fry

The Prayer of Reflection and Thanksgiving

Lord God,
Creator and Sustainer of life-
life too vast to comprehend
life too microscopic to behold.
Lifelof spirit, flesh, soul and mind,
all intrinsically woven
by Your love-filled hands.

We marvel at Your universe,
its unfathomable expansiveness
its power to replenish and to nurture.
We consider our place in the created order,
sometimes with questions of anguish and pain
sometimes with arrogant pride
sometimes with child-like wonder and thanksgiving.

Our vision, clouded and nearsigted, often
fails to see Your handwork,
Your ongoing re-creation,
Your voice that breaks through chaos.
Instead we focus on unfairness, on unmet expectations,
on mortal limitaions and natural diasters,
on differing perceptions and disagreements.

And yet, still at certain
sacred moments
the clouds break
And You stand in clear vision,
embracing us, showing us purpose
and meaning,
reminding us we are Your children.

For those moments, we are truly grateful.

At those moments, we are touched by You
through another’s kindness,
honest conversations,
and genuine acceptance.

Lord God,
Creator and Sustainer
Of life,

We give thanks.

Author: Virgil Fry

Support Groups

(Community wide ~ For anyone experiencing grief)

Every Wednesday for 8 weeks beginning
November 4th, 2009
Two groups
10:00 a.m. and 6:00 p.m.
No charge

Being held at
Lifeline Chaplaincy Conference Center
1415 Southmore Blvd @ LaBranch (Museum District)
Pre-registration requested at 713-524-1055 (Marlaina)

Virgil Fry, D.Min., Debra Sivesind, MSN,
Marilyn Ladin, LCSW-BCD

Through the Years

Lord God,

When our calendar runs out of pages
and the months dissipate into December,
it’s easy to be surprised, even disbelieving,
that another year is closing.

That, in the hurriedness of living life,
the sands of time have continued unfettered,
and we are forced to close a chapter
in order to move on and grow.

Such a process isn’t easy, for we’re not
good at saying goodbye.
With a sense of wonder and a twing of sadness,
we reflect upon the experiences of the sweeping years.

We see vividly through memory’s prism
friends, family, others, from distant past and
within-touch present,
each of whom has touched and shaped us,
each of whom is unique
yet so very much like us.
For every friendship, we give thanks.

For those from whom we are distanced through miles
we pray for their well-being.
For those from whom we are distanced through death,
we pray for the ongoing gift of recall.

As our journey continues,
we trust in Your promised presence.
We are grateful for the companionship You offer
in the form of fellow travelers
who teach, enrich, share joy, and dry tears.

As the years unfold, Lord, we stop and thank You
for the truth that You are love.
And as new years unfurl, may we always find
You along the way.


Author: Virgil Fry