Discussion Questions for "Treat Gently, This Gentle Man"

Treat Gently, This Gentle Man is available at Createspace.com or at Amazon.com.

Introduction

  1. The author describes her fears about her father’s decline and her inability to face her father’s death. How do you relate to the author’s fears?
  2. If you are an aging parent, what can you do to allay your children’s fears?
  3. Is the passage from 2 Corinthians 1:4 comforting or disturbing?

A New Home

  1. What are your plans for living arrangements as you get older? What kinds of things do you think you should consider?
  2. If you have already planned for your end of retirement years, are you happy with your decisions? What would you do differently?
  3. Does the message from John 14:1-3 seem to speak more to the parent, adult child, or both?

Holding Court in the Library

  1. Is there a similar place in your hometown? If there is, what makes it a comfortable place to gather?
  2. How would you describe the friendships among the people who gathered in The Library?
  3. What did it mean for Jonathan, in 1 Samuel 18:3-4, to give David his robe, tunic, sword, bow, and belt?

The Slippers

  1. The emergency room is a scary place to take your aging parent or yourself. What coping techniques do you use or think you might use?
  2. What did the author mean by writing “My father’s congestive heart failure hooked its talons into us more and more”?
  3. In Job 2:10, Job asks “Should we only accept the good things from the hand of God and never anything bad?” What do his words mean to us in our daily lives?

The Birthday Party

  1. The author frequently mentions that she was grieving before the loss of her father. Is this something to avoid?
  2. What does the author’s prayer reveal about her faith journey?
  3. Why do you think the author chose Proverbs 3:5-6 for this chapter?

Double Solitaire at Half Speed

  1. What memories do you have of playing games with your parents or children? What makes those times special?
  2. Do you think the author’s father knew she was ‘throwing’ a game?
  3. What advice can we take from Ecclesiastes 3:1?

Now There Are Two

  1. What characteristics of friendship are described by the author?
  2. What purpose does the imagery serve during Paula’s chemotherapy?
  3. Why is Psalm 46:1-2 comforting?

Transitions

  1. How can we make bathroom issues less fearful for ourselves and for invalids?
  2. How did you react to the epitaph that the author cited?
  3. In Matthew 7:12 we are treat others as we would have people treat us. How does this apply to the care of our parents?

The Conversion

  1. How does our culture increase the fear of aging?
  2. Do you think the author is really convinced that aging is OK?
  3. In 1 Peter 3:8 what does it mean to love one another with “tender hearts and humble minds?”

Happy Hour at the “Home”

  1. Is it possible to be a “dutiful Presbyterian and an almost religious Scotch drinker?”
  2. What does this story reveal about the relationship between the author and her father?
  3. Psalm 104:1, 14-15 mentions wine as a gift to “make them glad.” What role did wine play in Jesus’ time compared to the 21st century?

Just Whistle

  1. Why was it so difficult for the author to talk to her father about dying?
  2. Do you have the same hesitancy to ask your loved ones how they feel about dying? Why?
  3. How did the author tune her “ears for wisdom and concentrate on understanding” as instructed by Proverbs 2:1-6?

Men, Women, and Death

  1. Do men and women approach end of life issues as differently as the author observed?
  2. Death in a family frequently brings out old hurts and new expectations. Why do you think that happens?
  3. What makes Matthew 18:21-22 so difficult to do?

His Hands

  1. What was the author trying to accomplish by memorizing the touch and feel of her father’s hands?
  2. What fears is the author addressing in her prayer?
  3. What comfort is the author seeking in Psalm 139:4-5?

Mom!

  1. What do the letters reveal about the relationship between the author and her mother? Do you have a similar or dissimilar relationship with your mother?
  2. Do you believe that those who have gone on before us are watching over us? Is such a belief compatible with Christianity?
  3. What does it mean to be comforted by a mother as mentioned in Isaiah 66:13?

My Personal Trainer

  1. How did Hospice help the author?
  2. How did the author compare the growth of her unborn child to her father’s decline? Is the comparison a good one?
  3. How would you compare the role of Hospice to the words in Matthew 11:28-29?

The Passing

  1. Why do you think the author regretted leaving her father to go to her friend’s house?
  2. Was the author imagining a presence in the room?
  3. In 2 Timothy 4:6-8 Paul was expressing his faith in having met the call, and he will be rewarded by Christ. Do we need to be like Paul to have the same reward?

The Epilogue

  1. Do you think the author’s timeline of tears is realistic?
  2. Is it true that we turn grief into cherished memories? When might that not happen?
  3. Have you ever been worn out by crying as Psalm31:9 describes? Do you think God cries with us?
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