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Stations of the Heart: Parting with a Son Hardcover – Deckle Edge, Apr 2 2013
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Praise for Richard Lischer’s Stations of the Heart
“Stations of the Heart is a book after my own heart, profound, gorgeous, deeply spiritual and human, beautifully written, heartbreaking, but also, because of the writer's wisdom and spirit, triumphant."—Anne Lamott
“Quite extraordinary. . . Lischer’s only son, Adam, died of rapidly metastasizing melanoma in 2005. He was 33. . . He said he’d had a charmed life, and part of what is impressive about his questioning father’s chastely worded, clear-eyed account is that we come to appreciate that. An immensely positive and congenial person, Adam used his time well, completing conversion to Catholicism and using daily prayer rituals with his wife to bless his child in the womb.”—Ray Olson, Booklist
“A fond view of a father-son relationship and a loving tribute from a minister to a son who chose a different spiritual path in his life and to his death.”—Kirkus Reviews
“In this tender, searching, resigned memoir and tribute to [his son] Adam, Lischer relives the final three-month journey that he, his wife, and [Adam’s wife] traveled with Adam, recalling with grace and humor memories of Adam in his elementary school days, his college days, and his quest to change the world around as a modern-day Atticus Finch”—Publishers Weekly
“Stations of the Heart deserves a place alongside these classics [John Gunther’s inspirational Death Be Not Proud and Nicholas Wolterstorff’s anguished Lament for a Son] for many reasons. It is elegant without excess, personal without self-absorption, profoundly emotional without sentimentality. . . . It looks beyond the one man’s death to the death we all will face. It raises religious and philosophical questions without offering pat answers.”—LaVonne Neff, Christian Century
“An inspirational memoir . . . Lischer is a fine writer—self-aware, humorous and unstinting in describing the outrage of a son dying before his father.”—Sarah Murdoch, The Toronto Star
"By the story’s close, you'll have laughed, prayed, shaken your fist at the sky, and wept along with the author and his family. Lyrical, wise, and full of warmth, Stations of the Heart accomplishes what only the best memoirs can: it bears witness to the unimaginable and gives voice to the inarticulable.”—David McGlynn, author of A Door in the Ocean
"As he grieved over the loss of his son, Richard Lischer gradually discovered that he had been given a new role — as the interpreter of his own son’s death. In this tender and loving book, Lischer does indeed become an interpreter, not only of his son’s death but also of the fragile and beautiful relationships that make life both a peril and a gift for us all. Lischer is a faithful witness whose truthful and searing testimony evokes memory, provokes tears, and finally points powerfully toward hope."
—Thomas G. Long, author of What Shall We Say? Evil, Suffering, and the Crisis of Faith
About the Author
RICHARD LISCHER holds degrees from Washington University and Concordia Seminary, and a PhD in theology from the University of London. He served in two parishes before joining the faculty of Duke Divinity School, where he has taught for more than thirty years. He is the author of many books, including Open Secrets: A Memoir of Faith and Discovery. He and his wife live in Orange County, North Carolina.
Top Customer Reviews
Most Helpful Customer Reviews on Amazon.com (beta)
This is a book for people of faith, but it is for people of a particular kind of faith. This will hardly satisfy the dogmatic. It is not out to paste band aids over the wounds of fear and loss. It faces hard questions and learns to live with a faith that depends solely on holding hands in the center of darkness. I was deeply moved by this journey of 93 days while a young man comes to terms with mortality as well as the approaching birth of his first child. His practice of his faith, the daily visit he and his wife make to their church to receive the sacrament, his sense of humor and his determination to do whatever it took to hold off those last days until he could see his daughter and hold her in his arms - all witnessed by his parents and affirmed by them - is the story of a family that won far more than our admiration and respect. They showed me how much we all can learn from this - the final chapter we all must live. Beautifully written, candid, appropriately light-hearted at times yet honestly frank, we discover a new way to affirm there is life beyond death, a life far more deeply satisfying and real than we could have imagined.
This book goes on my shelf with a select few that have changed my life. It may be a while before I can pick it up again, but read it again I know I will.
Lischer goes beyond telling of the tragic loss of a beautiful and loving son, because through his focus on family, finally to the baptism of that son's newborn after his death, we see at least a glimpse of the power of Resurrection. The life of that family will go on, generation after generation. The blessings of a eucharistic leitmotif tell of one generation that reaches to the past and to the future, through what can best be understood through the words "This is my body, given for you." I have no way to explain the impact of such a life-giving story, beautifully and honestly told, upon my reading, which throughout is a faithful expression of the deep faith that assails us when we least want it perhaps, and when we most seek it. This finally is not only his story, but the story of us all, however our own stories will be told.
Jean Rodenbough, author listed on Amazon