In this wise and tender inspirational book, a Michigan pastor shares meditations that speak to the gamut of life’s emotions.
Vredeveld’s debut offers meditations on a wide range of topics. Early on, the United Church of Christ pastor reveals that she’s walked through serious suffering herself, since her youngest daughter died of ovarian cancer at 28. With kindness, some humor and an exceptionally warm voice, the author takes readers from the shores of Lake Michigan and sightings of her beloved blue herons to the hospital rooms and bedsides of the sick and dying. Yet this is a book brimming with hope. Grief is only one of the topics, which sometimes include discussions of the broader culture. The author calls gossip “a form of character assassination” and verbal abuse “a form of identity theft.” In a chapter titled “Hurry Up and Wait,” she offers original thoughts on something as quotidian as waiting for a technician to show up at her house. It’s refreshing to read someone who so values positive thinking—“Be less interested in what bugs you about people than in what you appreciate about them”—and her trust in God, appreciation for life and love of nature are frequent themes. The author is also a singer and fan of hymns, and she beautifully weaves some of these lyrics into her writing. Readers may be tripped up by the occasional omission of a word, but the meaning is always clear from context. Not every grieving parent is up to the task of writing about such a loss in a way that will speak to others. Vredeveld does so quite well, however, and the few chapters focused on her daughter are not so personal that they will fail to speak to and comfort others. In fact, interested readers may find themselves wanting more.
Honest and soulful insight from a gifted writer.