Reconstruction is complicated. Plenty of the process will take us into the shadows. If we don’t deal with trauma, we will perpetuate the cycle of it, weaponize it, and even develop an unhealthy dependence on it for a new identity, living only from our pain… Reconstruction is so worth it. But it’s tough. It can be frustrating. And it’s hard work.

Many loves might come and go from your life, but you’re kinda stuck with yourself. Partners, friends, even family members… any time there is loss, the dust settles, and there you are. And that being the case, for those of us with some toxic theology and religiosity in our backgrounds, one of the most important things to grasp might be this: You aren’t tarnished. You aren’t hopelessly broken. You aren’t born guilty and somehow cosmically at fault for death and entropy itself. You’re just a person. You delight, you suffer, you survive, and hopefully, you love. A lot.

There’s a particular contentment that comes in our falling in love again, dreaming again, hoping again. In our moments of rediscovered innocence, and in our informed and yet defiant idealism. As we reconstruct life on the other side of grief, loss, and tremendous shifts in perspective, the greatest refuge to be found is in the new things we love. It’s almost a kind of resurrection, where you’re armed with all you’ve experienced and learned, but open to something new and beautiful.

In certain religious ways of seeing the world, it can be easy to mistake presence for transcendence. We struggle to fully embody our own experiences in the ‘here and now’ when everything is made to be ‘the somewhere else and the not yet.’ It turns out that being fully intimate with our own experience can be difficult when we have to filter everything through an “eternal” worldview. When that’s you, you end up holding each moment at arm’s length. And a lack of full presence doesn’t just diminish our experience of the world, but our engagement in the world.

The Airing of Grief Season 2 has been long and dynamic and varied. So the question arises: How do you “end” a season like this? We’re not sure you really can. So maybe this is more of a pause. An array of voices in a flowing conversation – meandering together like objects in shared, resonant space. A coda to embodiment and finding ourselves within each other’s stories.

This is the third and final installment in a series of experimental discussions featuring the producers of The Airing of Grief. In this episode, Kevin shares his story – along with his answers to the "three questions" covered previously by Jamie, Derek and Jon. You can spend a long time reforming and even reconstructing faith before you ultimately encounter some of the biggest and hardest questions. Sometimes gravity takes a long time to catch up. 

With just a few more episodes left to come in Season 2, we're taking a moment for a more experimental conversation within our format… Three questions. Pause. Take stock. Mark the time. That's what our producers Jamie and Derek are doing in this discussion they recorded together – in which they field some questions that many of us are experiencing our own answers evolving in response to.

This is a story of fragmentation which leads to a need for approval, to have purpose, to be accepted, to be closer, to be ENOUGH... all of these things exploited by a system which seeks to keep us from reconnecting to who we were before our fragmentation ever set in. A system which just wants us performing to its expectations. But this is also a story of learning to see the world through your own eyes. A story of coming back from the enticing manipulation which causes us to see ourselves as human doings rather than human beings.

The word "liminal" comes from the Latin limen, which means “threshold.” It's a point of entry. A place of beginning. A liminal space is the time between the ‘what was’ and 'what will be’ – between the previous and the next. Suspended and waiting and not knowing... It is a place of transition. And if we can learn to embrace the wait, we will also learn that we are being newly formed. Liminal space is where our transformations take their shape. 

Our resilience in trauma cannot be diminished, and our defiance in the face of a religious system which would seek to shut us down cannot be underestimated. So here’s to the unexpected devastations and rebirths – the fires which brought us to the ground and then remade us. And here’s to the slow process of grief which yields a steady assent towards something better. It's ironically kind of biblical: From the ashes, we rise.