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  • Some Questions on the Death of a Cat by Rebecca Brewster Stevenson

    There is a place within us that can be reached by intelligence. But there is a deeper one that only the spirit can get to. And that is why those who are “merely completely intelligent” — in science or art, verse or prose — always seem like spies.  ~Juan Ramon Jimenez, The Complete Perfectionist

     

    The cats were for my children, who were old enough to care for them when we got them from the animal shelter. I was busy parenting children and teaching full-time. And I had already loved a cat, an extraordinary cat– if cats can be such– and my own. These cats were for my children.

    Of the pair, Smokey was beautiful. Soft, fluffy, gray but with dark markings in that grayness as if he’d been over-dyed. Green eyes, pink tongue. Purred so loudly you could hear him across the room, but he almost never cried.

    Max was the loud one, and that’s how my daughter noticed him, I think, calling us over to his cage where it sat on the floor. He was alone in there, standing on his hind legs with his little forefeet pressed against the bars. Looking up at us, he meowed and meowed. Pitiable. How could we choose a different kitten when he so clearly was asking to come home with us? (more…)

 

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The Books

Overview of Healing Maddie Brees

This is the story of Maddie and Frank Brees, seventeen years into a marriage they’ve crafted with honesty and care. When Maddie is diagnosed with cancer, they discover they’re not as honest as they thought, and the burden of her present illness is compounded by the beliefs and experiences of their pasts.

A work of literary fiction, the novel took me many years to write. It’s a story of marriage and of illness, and also of unvisited grief. It questions what we expect from one another and from God, weighs the significance of adolescent love, and examines the perhaps extraordinary demand of our physical beings on our spiritual selves.

And it’s filled with hope.

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Overview of Wait: Thoughts and Practice in Waiting on God.

Waiting might be the most common experience of human existence, but some waits are worse than others. Some are longer; and for some, the stakes seem frighteningly high. Whatever you’re waiting for, chances are you’re not enjoying the wait itself. The whole idea of waiting, after all, means to endure in the hope that things will get better.

Meanwhile, we might glean something from our protracted dissatisfaction, and this work of creative non-fiction explores some possibilities. Initially, I drew from my own family’s very long wait, but soon I was including the experiences of friends as well as stories of waiting in scripture and studies of some art and poetry. The book takes a careful look at different aspects of waiting, offering a perspective that might make your own wait something you are actually grateful for.

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Wait: Thoughts and Practice in Waiting on God.

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About author
Rebecca Brewster Stevenson
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I was born in California, spent two years of my childhood in Japan, and grew up in Pittsburgh. While Long Island’s North Fork, home to my maternal grandparents and parents, will always be my second home, I have lived most of my adult life in Durham, North Carolina, where my husband and I have raised our three children.

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“Most powerfully, Stevenson links the physical to the spiritual, letting Maddie’s breast cancer open her to a spiritual journey, letting the veneration of the Eucharist open space for understanding illness, letting love for the mortal body open space for love of the divine. A gorgeous meditation on broken bodies, fractured faith, and the soul-wrenching path to serenity.”

–Kirkus Reviews