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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.
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