A poem from Gregory Orr on the silver lining of a heart shattered open: the knowledge that our broken places are where beauty comes from.
The questions of who matters and what’s really important run through each entry in this week’s edition of Letter from Loring Park.
In the shadow of tremendous loss, a message about the gifts we are to each other, the raw truth of who we are, and what really matters.
Beneath the backyard cookouts and parades lingers a quiet and often unnoticed grief. A military counselor on the true heart of Memorial Day: bearing witness to veterans’ stories to bring them fully home.
Witnessing the faint smile of her dying mother, the daughter of Haitian-Creole parents reflects on why she’s been writing about death and grief ever since — and the cathartic edge of the Book of Revelation and C.S. Lewis.
The companionship of Thomas Merton; an inspiring faith in our nation’s potential; and the spiritual work of environmental care.
Those who have suffered most may also be our greatest teachers on the road to courage. Omid Safi looks to the complicated, yet abiding faith one grieving father holds for his country for moral wisdom.
College rejection and acceptance letters are in the post this time of year. Our columnist drops truth on how rejection can teach us to find value in ourselves, and not in the affirmation of the decision-making process of an admissions department.
Courtney Seiberling on rediscovering the magic of things, even after deep loss seems to drain our world of wonder.
Life’s tragedies can make the road ahead seem like a barren vista. But our losses can also clear space for courageous new beginnings.
From the heart of New Delhi, a singer-songwriter explores the love and loss we all experience at one time or another. Listen and enjoy!
If you could speak to a passed friend or family member, what would you say? An exploration of the healing that can happen when we stay in relationship with the ones we love, even beyond the end of life
Marie Howe marks the space left in her life by her late brother — tiny movements and moments now conspicuously absent. A tender elegy for a loved one gone too soon.
Our culture has a profound discomfort with walking openly through grief. An exploration of the healing power of companionship and openness after loss — embodied in groundbreaking gatherings for millennials longing to heal together.
One of the hibakusha, the survivors of Hiroshima, reflects on life after the bombing in frank words: to honor the lives destroyed, and hope that her experience with death imparts a lesson about the preciousness of life.
In the wake of tragedy, how do we respond with resilience? How do we continue to love across boundaries?
Unitarian-Universalist law enforcement chaplain Kate Braestrup tells the story of a police woman who embodies the both/and of love and new life, and crime and death.
Omid Safi honors each life lost in Orlando — with a hard look at the realities we face, and an appeal to the urgency of compassion to heal our wounds.
Blame abounds in times of crisis, but this can be a destructive endeavor. Instead, Courtney Martin advocates for emotional generosity to ourselves and each other, and for holding ourselves accountable for bringing about a better reality.
Loss and trauma can cast us into uncertainty. Parker Palmer finds solace in the words of William Stafford, and wonders if being lost is the first step on a path to something better.
Collected counsel on forging meaning and joy from our suffering, and finding calm in times of tension.
How do we cut through distraction to nurture our best selves forward? Our executive editor shares reflections on rediscovering the glory around and within us, from the journey of an olympic runner, to the lyrical labyrinth of rap, to healing the void of loss with art and memory.
When grief or hardship strike, they are best borne out in solidarity. Trent Gilliss serves up readings on our collective sorrow and celebration in the passing of our heroes, and taking a new perspective on the grit of beauty, nature, and family.
“There is a silence that always speaks if we listen.” A Haitian-American living in Belgium offers a poem for the silence and an invocation for belonging.
One of our columnist’s most influential teachers passed away this spring. Sharon Salzberg with a reflection and an homage to “a man who completely walked the talk of his values.”
Nature cannot erase grief, but makes it easier to bear. A woman holds fleeting memories of familial warmth as she visits mid-coast Maine, and finds solace in the brave journey of the alewives from sea to lake and back again.
Beloved Irish poet John O’Donohue on beauty’s true grit, and finding it in the transformational edges of our daily lives.
When a beloved celebrity dies, collective grief can be a strange, sacred place. A Minneapolitan celebrates Prince, and what his life can teach us about becoming fully and uncompromisingly ourselves.
When loss is unexpected, grief is complicated. Zaha Hadid will be remembered for her dazzling feats of architecture, Mohammed Fairouz contemplates the profound loss of the work that is now unknowable.
Homelessness is present on the streets of Denver each day. So are stories of resilience, compassion, and dignity even through life’s most difficult trials. A live-in volunteer at a Catholic Worker house realizes that we find home in those with whom we journey through our toughest moments.
From an eloquent and soul-touching tune, to testaments of moving forward from complex suffering, our executive editor shares demonstrations of the boundless and surprising bravery of which we are all capable.
How do you know when it’s time to say goodbye? For pets and people both, it’s not always clear when the time has come. Jane Gross on watching her dog die and reckoning with the decision of when to let go.
Our sense of connection to each other can feel lost, but support and goodwill come to the fore when we need it most. Returning from a mournful period of loss, our executive editor shares his wonder at the spaces in our lives where the warmth of kinship and community still shine through.
In the waiting room of a doctor’s office, the dramas of life and death play out quietly. A reflection on the power of paying attention to the stranger, and to the burdens we all carry.
To love life in its fullness is the key to wise living. Parker Palmer with a poem on transforming suffering and restoring life.
What happens when we open ourselves to the gift of vulnerability? Profound voices on public displays of emotion in politics, the making of identity, the inspiration of wilderness, and advice from a classical pianist on pursuing what moves you and being glad in others’ good fortunes.
Each year brings the loss of a life we loved. But what if our grief served as a conduit to community and creating a more thoughtful, interconnected world?
The loss of mobility as we age does more than hamper one’s movement. It separates us from the things we love. Jane Gross on grieving the temporary loss of her dog after suffering a concussion.
How do we continue to bear witness when violent loss becomes cyclical? How do we mourn? An educator grapples with her own struggle to uphold the memories of the victims of the Umpqua Community College shooting, in a time when we have started to become numb to tragedy.
The daughter of the renowned Hindi poet Kailash Vajpeyi turns to ancient rivers and archaic rituals to find comfort in the uninterrupted thread running through her past, present, and future.
There is no handbook for grief. With grace, kindness, and gentleness, a daughter candidly shares her experience of mourning after the unexpected loss of her father.
When teaching about 9/11 and the dignity of all lives, a professor encounters a student in class who lost her father in the World Trade Center attacks. Her kind response is a reminder that we must sometimes reconcile our advocacy for, and anger towards, others with compassion for our fellow human beings.
For World Suicide Prevention Day, a story of a son’s loss of his father by suicide. The writer Eric Marcus talks about family silence, learning to share his story, and discovering compassion for his father and healing for himself.
Forgiveness is not easily granted. But, summoning the deepest compassion for ourselves and others may allow both parties to move on without bitterness. Through the bittersweet story of her friend, Sharon Salzberg imparts a lesson about the shifting course of relationships and a path to peace.
Rituals provide structure for the full spectrum of our emotional lives – but for those who don’t identify with an organized religion, how are rituals developed? Courtney Martin ponders the “muddy, sacred” experience of creating rituals.
Pediatric oncologists and parents alike are searching for someone to help them bear the suffering they must witness. An essay reflecting on doctors, Dante, and treating children with cancer.
A trip down the Grand Canyon (and, of course, a poem) reveals a truth and shows us all that we are most whole when we live in the layers of our being.
A winding path that flows from experiencing the grace of wholeness and seeking the ineffable to seeing the hidden systems in plain sight, and the otherness and belonging necessary for all of us to thrive.
Some of the best things of the week: on quiet nobility, thin places, the fist of fate, severed friendships, and Malcolm X.
Closure may not be all it’s cracked up to be. Courtney Martin on the death of a friendship and the insatiable, sometimes unsatisfying, need to create silver linings where none exist.