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Here If You Need Me

I've just finished reading Kate Braestrup's book, Here If You Need Me.  It's part of my assigned reading for a two-week January Term class on Theology of Practical Ministry which begins in twelve days.  When I'm not in class, I'll be engaged in learning site ministry with Hospice in Sterling, VA. 

If you know me, you probably know I do not tear though books.  No, that would be my sweetie, Heart Of My Heart.  She usually devours books like there's no tomorrow.  Me, on the other hand, I often just plod along, regularly putting them down and never getting around to finishing them.  But not this one.  It grabbed me and compelled me to read from cover to cover.

Braestrup's story is about love, loss, grief, and ultimately love through service.  Her husband was a Maine State Trooper planning a second career as a Universalist Unitarian minister when he was tragically killed in a car accident.  As she sifted through her grief while raising four young children, Braestrup was called into ministry of her own.  After completing seminary, Kate was called to serve as the Chaplain to the Maine Warden Service, a vocational ministry which she still serves today.  It is a remarkable story, well written, one which I whole-heartedly recommend to all. 

Here's a little snippet from Kate Braestrup, courtesy of YouTube, "in her own words":  

I appreciate her for tackling that tough theodicy question:  Where is God in all the suffering and evil we find in this world?
"God does not spill milk.  God did not bash the truck into your father's car.  Nowhere in scripture does it say, 'God is car accident' or 'God is death.'  God is justice and kindness, mercy, and always -- always -- love.  So if you want to know where God is in this or in anything, look for love."

Heart Of My Heart and I know four children we wish had heard this clear message of truth from a pulpit not long ago.  We hope and pray that the sermon God intended them to hear is one where they see and experience love in their lives everyday, because we know that in the face of unspeakable tragedy, God's love has surrounded and enveloped them.

I'm really blessed to have read this book.  Each and every day, we should all look for someone to love and tell them: I'm here if you need me.