When There's No Good Card for That - Kate Bowler

Complicated Grief and Complicated Love with

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When There's No Good Card for That

Hello my dears,

As it turns out, sharing your innermost feelings with millions of strangers in the form of a fancy book was an even more inside-out-feeling than I imagined. Who knew?

When we last spoke, I had just wrapped a busy book tour and recording seven podcast episodes where I had the chance to speak with hilarious and candid humans about what they discovered after everything fell apart. You met my friend Ray whose work with kids with cancer stole your heart just a bit. And Margaret, who described perfectly what it’s like to be a card-carrying member of the Fellowship of the Afflicted. And Nadia, whose love for church as a “team sport” sparked a little hope for religious communities. And Lucy, who so beautifully described the no-matter-whatness of a love that transcends death. And there was Alan, who offered gentle wisdom on the importance of communication, especially in medical settings.

So many beautiful stories. So many breathtaking and heartbreaking conversations. You may be wondering, how do we possibly top that? I certainly was.

My family and I spent the summer travelling the country in our 1984 Airstream we lovingly named Gord (the most Canadian of all names!), resting, and dreaming up what’s next. My health has stabilized. The medicine is still keeping tumors at bay, and we’re watching and waiting with every scan.

During this time, I received thousands of emails, letters, direct messages, and comments from friends and caregivers, patients and doctors, spouses and children, neighbors and pastors–people who know what it’s like to have a before and an after. And you, like me, want to know: what do we do now that we know life is so fragile?

And so WE’RE BACK with Season Two! And bringing you even more honest, heartfelt conversations with some of my favorite people on the planet. Today, I want to introduce you to my new friend, Emily McDowell. Emily is an illustrator, artist, and founder of Emily McDowell Studios— where she creates my most favorite cards. We discuss the absolute worst and most beautiful responses we’ve received to our terrible news and why it can be so hard to say the right thing when our loved ones are suffering. (Plus, you’ll hear about the time just last week where I accidentally said something wildly inappropriate. So yes, we all could use a little help in this area.)

Click here to listen to There’s No Good Card for That with Emily McDowell.

One of my greatest hopes is that these conversations would extend into your living rooms, around your dinner tables, in your offices and hospitals, classrooms and churches, in your online communities and Facebook groups. In dreaming up this next season, I realized we don’t just need more podcast episodes; we need resources to bring these conversations into places that matter most to you.

That’s why I created a series of discussion questions around each episode. I envision groups of strangers, neighbors, co-workers, and online friends listening to each episode and gathering together to discuss, in hope that we can become kinder and braver together.

Click here to download the discussion questions for No Good Card for This with Emily McDowell (S2E1).

And if you are ready to start your own podcast discussion group, will you let us know? We’d love to let others in your area know about the Everything Happens Discussion Groups. Click here to enter your group information.

Season Two of the podcast will be a wee-bit shorter than you’re used to, but rest assured. We’re ramping up for a full Season Three coming Spring 2019. In the meantime, be on the lookout for even more resources: podcast discussion questions, the Everything Happens Book Club (!!!!), and insightful articles.

I love this community, and I love you. I’m so grateful you’ve stuck around and I can’t wait to see what we build together.


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4 years ago

Thank you for your pod casts.
They are extremely meaningful.

4 years ago

The below has become my theological conclusions (for decades): “I believe the greatest single challenge to modern Judaism [and Christianity] arises out of the question of God and the death camps…. How can Jews believe in an omnipotent, beneficent God after Auschwitz? Traditional Jewish [and Christian] theology maintains that God is the ultimate, omnipotent actor in the historical drama. It has interpreted every major catastrophe in Jewish history as God’s punishment of a sinful Israel. “I fail to see how this position can be maintained without regarding Hitler and the SS as instruments of God’s will. The agony of European… Read more »

4 years ago

What a great reminder! Thank you!

4 years ago

Your insight, humor, and honesty have been incredibly helpful to me as a caregiver of a cancer patient/survivor (he is a Duke patient too). Would love to meet you sometime! Thank you providing the words and comfort I have sorely needed. Love the photo of your family.

4 years ago

Keep up the good work, Kate!

Liz Whittle
4 years ago

Hello, My sister and I heard you at Presby in Dallas earlier this year. Great message for all. Thanks! Liz

4 years ago

Hi Kate,
You have probably had many medical suggestions. I am a 30-year survivor (no recurrence) of Stage IV colon cancer (liver and lymph nod metastases) with a 1989 prognosis of 10% chance of being alive in 5 years. I was treated by Paul Sugarbaker, MD, the medical director for the Center for Gastrointestinal Malignancies at MedStar Washington Hospital Center in DC. I had surgery and inter-peritoneal chemo. Might be worth consulting him.
Best of luck.

4 years ago

You might like David Whyte’s poem.

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