Today, some have seriously thought of exchanging a theology once handed down to them by family members for another belief system that in their minds can better tackle the questions that accompany pain. God, as they understand God, just doesn’t seem to ease the emotional and mental anguish brought about by unexpected and vicious events. My hope in this brief letter is to inspire those of you who are experiencing such a theological shift. Unlike a call to maintain the “faith of your fathers,” my goal here is to encourage you to grab hold of whatever new ideas that bring you a sense of lasting peace.

The death of a loved one, the loss of a most intimate relationship, or the unbearable relinquishing of a cherished have caused men and women from all walks of life to think twice about what they have held sacred for some time. In my book, Spiritual Care to Elderly and Dying Loved Ones, I write about a woman who decided to change what she believed after losing not one, not two, but three of her children. This massive loss led the Jewish mother (who I call Diane in the book) into an agnostic theology. She didn’t have animosity toward the divine. She simply could not fathom a loving God allowing a mother to bury all of her children.

Like Diane, I, too, underwent a theological facelift, if you will. After the death of my child, I ventured quietly into an inner dialogue on what constitutes faith for me. Years later, and after much soul searching and turmoil, I reached a new territory, one that has given me a new identity and a more peaceful outlook. I no longer fit into my once conservative views; those shoes no longer snuggle comfortably around my feet. Instead, I embrace a faith that generates love, meaning, and purpose without a need to defend the Almighty. And most of all, it trims down those restless haunting vibrations of the past.

Often we read of how someone drew closer to God as they understand God. This is both common and commendable. However, less attention and praise are given to the new spiritual discoveries that can come out of creating a fresh form of spirituality. Books by great minds on the subject are out there, no doubt. Unfortunately, they receive little popularity unless, that is, someone wants to use the much needed discussion for controversy or for ratings.

As an admirer of spirituality and a soon-to-be practicing psychotherapist, I find it important to create a positive space for clients, young and older, who are looking to make a theological change in the name of finding lasting peace. I want to put into motion a safe atmosphere for individuals who are struggling yet again to make sense out of chaos. Theological surgery is no easy task, especially for those who are moving away from long held beliefs. Thus, I find it imperative to provide a nonjudgmental setting for them to explore. If these words ring true for you, I wish you well in your journey. And know that you are not alone.

Kevin Quiles 2011

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Kevin Quiles

Kevin Quiles, M.Div., M.A, has provided spiritual and bereavement counseling to elderly and dying individuals and their families since 1998. He earned his Bachelor of Arts Degree in 1987 and attained a Masters of Divinity Degree with Emphasis in Counseling in 1995, before completing over two years of clinical-pastoral education under professional supervision. Quiles earned a Master of Arts Degree in Community Counseling at a CACREP accredited university and is now practicing supervised psychotherapy in the greater Atlanta area of Georgia, specializing in couple therapy, trauma, and grief. The author is also a member of the American Academy of Psychotherapists. His experience with thousands of patients in hospitals, assisted living facilities, and in their own homes gives him the insight and humility to write on the subject of spiritual care. The author has also penned six articles, including "Embracing the Elderly Patients' Wish to Die," and "Power Patterns within Professional Relationships." Dipped in a narrative format, Spiritual Care teaches the sacred art of end-of-life counseling to family members, students, volunteers, faith community lay and professional ministers, and therapists.

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