The stories we tell
From “Our Own Stories” — published recently at Thrive Global: Bouncing back and forth between the curb appeal of life-changing magic and the disturbing durability of the current order of things, I find that I am disposed to overlook the small and seemingly inconsequential movements and happenings that end up remaking life as I know it. Whether or not it is true that our lives can only be understood backwards, the stories we tell about many such shifts often take on fresh meaning for us in retrospect. That’s been the case for me, at least.
From “What will survive of us is love,” published recently at Thrive Global: We enjoin each other to remember with frequently fraught if well-intentioned formulas, and too commonly imagine the results as inevitably healing. When things turn out otherwise, as they often do, there are those who quickly tell us that we’re just not doing it right — that we need another form of confessional practice, a better set of beliefs, an alternative mode of truth-telling, a different discourse of memory. And maybe we do. Yet when we need them most urgently, we understandably reach for whatever inherited or borrowed words we have at hand.
Imagining The Immanent Frame
An Interview with Jonathan VanAntwerpen Jonathan VanAntwerpen is a program director at the Henry Luce Foundation, where he leads a grants program that aims to promote innovative thinking about religion across multiple social and cultural contexts, to expand and diversify critical intellectual engagement with religious ideas and spiritual practices in…
Notes on Grief
“I wince now at the words I said in the past to grieving friends. ‘Find peace in your memories,’ I used to say. To have love snatched from you, especially unexpectedly, and then to be told to turn to memories. Rather than succor, my memories bring eloquent stabs of pain that say, ‘This is what you will never again have.’ Sometimes they bring laughter, but laughter like glowing coals that soon burst aflame in pain. I hope that it is a question of time — that it is just too soon, too terribly soon, to expect memories to serve only as salve.”
“All poems use craft; careful choice of words, linebreaks, metaphor and form. I love these elements of poetry, but I know that such technicalities are not the only way to love a poem. Most people remember a poem because it reminds them of something: a grief of their own; a moment of love in their life; a decision they had to make; a time of wonder and delight; a landscape they had forgotten; a pain they carried. Somehow, those little clockworks get into the heart, and help it go, help it rhyme, help it in ways we can’t define.”
Obituary: Rev. Berton VanAntwerpen (1937–2023)
Reverend Berton VanAntwerpen — known to many as Pastor Van (or “PV”), and to his family as Papa Bert — passed away peacefully at Butterworth Hospital on January 10, 2023, with his dear wife Marie, two of his children, sons Michael and Jonathan, and his daughter-in-law Jill, at his side…
The Peace of Wild Things
When despair for the world grows in me and I wake in the night at the least sound in fear of what my life and my children’s lives may be, I go and lie down where the wood drake rests in his beauty on the water, and the great heron feeds. I come into the peace of wild things who do not tax their lives with forethought of grief. I come into the presence of still water. And I feel above me the day-blind stars waiting with their light. For a time I rest in the grace of the world, and am free.