As the Ruminate blog editor, I get to read a lot of exceptional work, but in the New Year, I find it important to pause and revisit my favorite pieces of writing. With so many beautiful articles, it's difficult to narrow down my favorite Ruminate blog posts. So, we've put together a list of the most viewed blog posts of 2016. Sit back, brew a cup of tea, and enjoy the ruminations.
"While this place of self-imposed austerity held me in its grip, after two years and twenty pounds lost, I began to feel homesick, but for what home I wasn’t sure. The place I missed so desperately I knew I would never be able to return to—it simply didn’t exist any longer. And every step I took seemed to take me further and further away from my deceased husband."
Manning's beautiful reflections on the sudden loss of her husband and her journey toward regaining a desire for abundance is truly resonant...especially for those who have experienced deep loss. This is a must-read for anyone recovering from a heavy hurt.
"I was pregnant with my second child at the same time Judge was pregnant with McKayla, her third. My water broke nine weeks early, and I had my son prematurely. When I was in the hospital, I learned about McKayla’s passing – Judge and I attend the same church, and had brought our kids to the same playgroup. I felt like my heart was ripping open. At the same time I was worrying about my three pound son in the NICU, Judge and her husband and two young children were trying to make sense of the loss of their daughter so near the end of Judge’s pregnancy."
Accomplished poet, Nicole Rollender, profiles a woman and her family and their journey through grief and healing. Elaina Judge gave birth to a stillborn daughter, McKayla, and later experienced two miscarriages. Pulling from great writers on grief like Anne Lamott and Rumi, Rollender explores all the sides of grief in this profound essay.
"I spent a summer there between semesters of grad school, kneeling among vegetables and weeds and groups of students who volunteered in week-long shifts. In the evenings, we asked them to share their experiences of thin places. In the Celtic tradition, thin places are moments in which the space between the material and the divine seems very small. Thin, even."
University of Portland campus minister, Anne Boyle reflects on "thin spaces" in this lyrical piece about finding the sacred in unusual places. It's a gorgeous, contemplative read.
"I’m beginning to wonder if we’ve sacrificed doubt for something else. That we’ve had the experience of it—reveled in the existential anxiety we seem to worship in the postmodern age—but have lost the reason for doubt, the overarching purpose of it, if we can even begin to speculate what that might mean."
In this fresh rumination, Aaron Brown pushes us to re-think and re-frame our understanding of doubt. A beautiful read for the spiritual at heart.
"In the late morning or early afternoon, I’ll take a walk to think about the essay—why I’m writing it, what I really think or believe about the topic, what I might be trying to say. I consider this time and reflection vital to my work, but if you saw me by the side of the road, perhaps taking a photo with my phone of some wild grapes, you wouldn’t think I’m writing, but I am—more non-writing writing."
In our most-read blog post of 2016, Sophfronia Scott shares her advice on "non-writing writing." From gardening to driving, Scott encourages writers to pay attention, keep the mind churning, and fill our cups before visiting the blank page.
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I must change my life, I thought. Is this what Rilke meant? That I should “get healthy?” I should eat better, drink better? I jumped to this conclusion in the aisle at my grocery store.
I've had climate change anxiety since college, but bringing a baby into the universe intensifies it. My anxiety no longer only extends the length of my lifespan. I tell my husband Taylor I regret having a child because I can't stand the thought of Jackson in pain. He holds up our son’s wiggly, plump body. "You really wish he didn't exist?"