Every family has more people at the table than you can see. If we set the right number of plates, we would have to build way bigger tables.
One of the prevailing myths in North America’s mourning-avoidant culture is that within a relatively brief time after a loved one dies, we will want and receive closure. Living in liminal space and profound pain, we yearn to end such grief, to lose the sense that we’re on the bridge to nowhere. After our 25-year-old daughter Krista died while volunteering in Bolivia, as parents we heard the term often.
My daughter Krista died when she was 25. She was doing volunteer service in Bolivia, and a bus she was traveling on plunged over a cliff. Moses Pulei, who is from Kenya, met Krista in college. He flew from southern California to Spokane, Washington, to attend her memorial service. At the reception, he approached my husband and me. “In the Masai tradition, when someone dies, our gift is to go to their home and share a story,” he said. “May I come over?”
Empathy made it big in an era some call the "me generation." By discovering my feelings inside you, even you are about me.
Without the rudder of memory, my father seemed adrift in a tiny boat on a wild, infinite sea, yet unconcerned with finding a way back to shore.
The story of John de Gruchy’s grief for his eldest son is wrenching. Yet he also wants to offer an account of Christian hope that has both biblical and scientific integrity.
After the funeral, I was ready to help the boy's family find a church home closer to where they lived. Instead, they stayed with us.
You probably won’t hear Greg Laswell's songs in church. You’re more likely to catch them on the radio or in the background of a particularly intense moment of shows such as Grey’s Anatomy, Glee, or The Carrie Diaries. Yet his songs animate the highs and lows of my spiritual journeys. I’ve also started using them in my U.S. religious history courses.
Julian Barnes’s attempt to console himself with “It’s just the universe doing its stuff” recalls C.S. Lewis’s recoil from the “goodness” of God.