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The On Being Project

When We Move Into the Breaking Our Future Floats Down

Over the course of 15 years, we’ve been graced with many profound voices reflecting on the topic of grief and loss:

To name a few. And this week continues with an incredible letter from a Hmong woman who deeply understands the unfolding story of love that ended far too early. Take in Kalia’s letter and share it with someone you love who is in pain. It just may be a way into a deeper conversation.

Public Theology Reimagined

Photo by Cristian Newman  (Unsplash / Public Domain Dedication (CC0))

Kao Kalia Yang | Your Threads Have Come Undone: A Letter to a Grieving Husband
A few weeks ago, Kao Kalia Yang received a request to offer solace to a grieving stranger. So she penned a letter. And it’s probably one of the most moving things you’ll read this week:

“I did not know you. I did not know your wife. All I know is your love story ended long before you were ready, and now you live in a story unfolding.”

Our Weekly Columnists Respond

Photo by Roxene Anderson  (© All Rights Reserved)

Courtney Martin | A Little Intergenerational Interaction Will Do You Right
In her cohousing community in Oakland, our columnist is experiencing something she says was lacking in her 20s: deep friendships across generations. She shares some lovely stories and some helpful encouragements for more of us to create more space for intergenerational interaction.

“When I think about my life before living this way, particularly in my 20s, I am struck at how generationally segregated it was. … There was a lot of solidarity but not a lot of perspective.”

What are the meaningful intergenerational relationships you’re creating space for in your life? How are they formed?

Photo by Mike Wilson (Unsplash / Public Domain Dedication (CC0))

Omid Safi | Solitude Is About More Than Just Being Alone
Building on Jennifer Stitt’s essay and Courtney’s column last week, we asked Omid if he’d write something about the idea of solitude. His answer? Just as there are seasons, finding space to be alone shifts from being alone in far-off places to standing in the midst of community:

“Occasional retreats and weekend spirituality may not be the complete answer. But if it helps, do it. If getting away every now and then helps to remind you of who and what we are meant to be, do it.”

Photo by Jim Watson (Agence France-Presse / Getty Images / © All Rights Reserved)

Parker Palmer | Rest for a Moment in a Poem’s Peace
We can’t take wilderness retreats every time we feel caught up in the world’s madness, but a poem can be a momentary reprieve. Like many of us, Parker takes refuge in the verse of Wendell Berry:

“Only when we’re at peace inwardly can we bring some measure of peace to a violent world.”

Podcasts + Commentaries Worth Your Time
TED | An Ode to Envy
Parul Sehgal has been immersed in fiction nearly all her life. Her enchanting talk on this hidden human emotion we all harbor is marvelous in its scope and insight: “Jealousy makes us all amateur novelists.”

Dear Sugars | Oprah Winfrey on How to Say No
If you struggle to say no, these two podcast episodes hosted by Cheryl Strayed and Steve Almond are tailor-made for you. And Oprah’s guest appearance adds so much as she tells of her own personal trajectory with this challenge.

Refinery29 | Why Judging the Poor Isn’t Actually Helping Anybody
Ashley C. Ford is one of my favorite social commentators (her Twitter account is incredibly open). Here she pushes back on societal condescension of people who work hard every day but still live paycheck to paycheck.

The Civil Conversations Project

Photo by Torsten Blackwood (Agence France-Presse / Getty Images / © All Rights Reserved)

Danielle Celermajer | A Nation Apologizes for Wrongdoing: Is That a Category Mistake?
To apologize is to assume two conflicting identities, says professor Danielle Celermajer. But what about the collective atonement of a nation? A thoughtful delving into the need for remorse in order to flourish together anew:

“The act of speech, while necessary, must be accompanied by acts of the hands, heart, and mind.”

May the wind always be at your back,

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