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Loss can be so very difficult to define. It’s deeply personal.

Is it when you lose a loved one through death or when you lose the daily presence of your children because they’ve gone off to college? Is it when the one person in the world you thought you could always count on betrays you or when you lose your innocence by doing things that betray your own values and standards? Is it when you lose your beloved pet or when a beautiful autumn ends and you must brace yourself for a cold, hard winter?

My mother called me just a few minutes ago, just “checking in”. She said. As always, it was an encouraging conversation, and we talked of many things. At one point, she said, “You know up here (she still lives in my childhood KY home) we’re already having winter and Farmers’ Almanac reports that we’re in for a brutal spell…and I don’t like it one little iota.”

For me, some of my greatest losses have been through losing folks who I counted as powerful mentors who I may never had even met. Fredrick Buechner being the most recent.
Mr. Buechner is one of the foremost foundational theologians who fashioned much of my faith to lean more deeply into grace than I probably would have ever considered, and we lost him this month.

He was 96-years-old, and still a powerful man of faith. Everything he wrote from “Telling the Truth” to “Wishful Thinking” to The “Magnificent Defeat” and so many more books and stories were so personal—vulnerable even—and out-of-the-box consideration of our Faith that I devoured everything he ever wrote. I know that I will continue to read and study all 39 of his published books for the rest of my life, over and over again.

While I know that he and all of heaven are rejoicing to be beyond the veil together, our world is a little less brilliant for me as I consider not reading new works of his…for a time, that is.
I’ll nurse myself and grieve with others who’ll miss him, too. I trust that, eventually, I’ll come to a place of joy for having had him here at all. But, for today, I’ll not push myself to move on. Rather, I’ll choose to trust that a God who cares for us above all else wouldn’t knit such love and respect into our hearts and then expect us to say, “Oh well. It was good while it lasted. Now he’s gone. I’ll find something or someone else to fill the void.” No! I think our Father holds us in the sacred space of loss and grief.
Your stories always encourage me to keep the faith. I’d love to hear your stories of loss and grief, holding each other in that sacred space, snuggled as tight as a flock on an icy winter wire.

Love, your sister along the journey,

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