“On Being” rather than “on campaigning”: Kate Braestrup on life, loss, grief, love, and community

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Presence in the Wild with Kate Braestrup

“[T]he question isn’t whether we’re going to have to do hard, awful things, because we are. And we all are. The question is whether we have to do them alone.”  – Kate Braestrup 

From “On Being” website:  Kate Braestrup is a chaplain to game wardens, often on search and rescue missions, in the wilds of Maine. She works, as she puts it, at hinges of human experience when lives alter unexpectedly — where loss, disaster, decency and beauty intertwine. Hear her wise and unusual take on life and death, lost and found.

Other works by Ms. Braestrup that I recommend:

  • Her stories at “The Moth,” including “The House of Mourning.”  Ms. Braestrup and the five-year-old Nina teach us that, “You can trust a human being with grief.”
  • Marriage and Other Acts of Charity, about the role of love in life; Ms. Braestrup believes that love is the purpose of and source of meaning in life:  [T]here are something like forty-seven words for love in Hindi to name the permutations and variations of the thing.

    . . . All loves have much in common, and any one will offer a useful, if not painless, education in the limitations and possibilities of being human.  If you give your committed love to a person, an idea, or a cause, even should that person, idea, or cause be taken from you, or proven false, you will be a better lover—of anyone, of anything—for the experience.  Because I am a religious person, I see this in characteristically grandiose, religious terms: The point of being human is to get better (and better) at caritas, at agape, at love. (Pages 8-9, emphasis added)


Photo courtesy of Srikanta H. U. via Unsplash.

Alexandra Marchosky
Alexandra Marchosky
I coach individuals and organizations to do and be better by more fully living their values.
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