Yesterday at my Unitarian Universalist church, we had a beautifully poignant Holiday Pageant, that of course featured precious children. This year it was planned around the theme of peace, which couldn’t be more appropriate: that the pageant was dedicated to Sandy Hook made it into the order of worship.
After the service, I was talking to one of my favorite church elders (an informal designation of my own), someone to whom I look for gentle guidance as I take on leadership responsibilities. He was telling me about how uncannily appropriate this week’s installment of On Being was. He had heard it live earlier on Sunday morning. I try to listen to the podcast regularly, and have written about it before. We UUs are not often on people’s radar, so it is interesting that the interviewee was a UU chaplain, and that she was talking about death, loss and grief. This morning the following post from the show’s editor and producer, Trent Gillis, crossed my virtual desk. It is uncanny the way he chose the show to be rebroadcast this week. Then again, the show had its genesis in the aftermath of 9-11, so the likelihood of weighty topics being dealt with is very high. I haven’t listened to this show yet, but I know it comes highly recommended. It will be my drivetime listen today. I hope some might find it useful.
I edit and produce a national public radio show called On Being with Krista Tippett. It’s played on about 250 public radio stations at different times throughout the week. Part of my gig is deciding our programming line-up. Why do I tell you this?
About a week ago, we had a gap in our schedule and I suggested rebroadcasting our interview with Kate Braestrup, a UU chaplain who works with Maine’s game wardens on search-and-rescue missions and such events. She also lost a husband early in her life. For some, it seemed counter-intuitive to put a show on about death, loss, and grief during this festive time of year. But we know that the holidays can be a lonely time of despair, depression, and loss for many; I hoped our program could meet those people suffering in some minor way — and remind all of us of the gift of grace and happiness during this season.
I never could’ve envisioned (nor wanted to) this horrifying scenario before us. And so I worried about the programming decision.
Well, my beloved wife Shelley and I just finished listening to the production on MPR News (yes, believe it or not, on the radio). Kate Braestrup’s stories and insights on love, death, and loss are profound — and more relevant than I could have ever imagined. It’s wise people like her who are most needed during our country’s darkest hours and brightest holidays. Bella and I cried a little; we danced.
This show doesn’t make sense of the tragedy in Connecticut; nothing can. But, Kate Braestrup offers a framing for how to think about love and tragedy, how we live forward. If you’re looking for something to listen to with your loved ones, listen to this show.
- Krista Tippett: Reconnecting with compassion (lugenfamilyoffice.com)