Yet, I also wonder whether this place-based holiness isn’t a bit like an analog watch, needing its spring to be wound again and again. Some places are probably so deeply imbued with spiritual energy that their unwinding might take centuries or millennia, the locations of Jesus’ life and death perhaps, or pilgrimage trails like the Camino de Santiago. But other places, like parish churches or summer camp chapels seem to need an ongoing encounter to sustain them or the thin place comes to be clouded and not so thin anymore.
This began what I now call a pilgrimage through loss. These were during the same years that our mourning-avoidant culture heralded “closure” and “moving on” as the hallmarks of healthy grief. Elizabeth Kübler-Ross’s “stages of grief” adapted from her death and dying work became a dominant narrative. This focus on closure seemed deeply flawed. Plus, it didn’t fit, and, instinctively, it didn’t seem wise or realistic.
But what is loss? And how does it fit into the larger palette of our emotional lives? How do we deal with loss over time?
The answer, I have come to believe, depends on loss as an essential corollary of love; without one, there cannot be the other. And because love is a necessary part of our existence, loss too is an essential part of our lives.
“Overweight.” That was the verdict from my iPhone’s BMI index. I had been skinny all my life until now, but that had ended and I had to face the fact that I was headed in a bad direction. At almost 60, “Obese” could be in my future. If I didn’t want to end up like the rest of my family, I had to come to grips with reality.
by George Clifford
In college and seminary in the 1970s, I was taught that stasis was theologically superior to dynamism. For example, course content emphasized that God—unlike humans—is immutable, unchanging, and unchangeable. I was taught that revelation ended when the canon closed. Yes, God still spoke to individuals, but God had no fresh message, revelation, or scripture to give to God’s people. My professors openly disdained groups such as the Mormons and Pentecostals who believed in God’s ongoing revelation.
For reasons I […]
by Maria L. Evans
O God, whose beloved Son took children into his arms and blessed them: Give us grace to entrust N. to your never-failing care and love, and bring us all to your heavenly kingdom; through Jesus Christ our Lord, who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit, one God, now and for ever. Amen.
—Page 494, Book of Common Prayer
The most dynamic-altering event in my family during my lifetime was the November day in 1960 […]