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"Loss" isn't prescriptive. It doesn't tell what to do and how to do it. It's not a self-help recovery guide. It's not a survival kit. It isn't inspirational. It doesn't ask to accept fate or faith. It doesn't advise prayer or meditation. It doesn't invoke the supernatural or suggest a reunion in an afterlife. It isn't academic. It doesn't reach back to classical philosophies or consider present-day thinkers. It doesn't draw on psychological insights. It isn't professorial. So if that's what it isn't, then what is it? I will answer that in a moment but first let me tell you why the distinction is important.When my wife passed away almost seven years ago many well-intentioned friends provided me with magazine articles and books on how to deal with my grief. After perusing these and even more on the Web, I quickly realized that they all missed the mark. I didn't know what I was looking for but I did know it was not in any of those books or articles.With the advantage of hindsight I now know what I wanted. I was looking for someone who would fully understand what I was going through. I wanted nothing more, nothing less. Don't assure me that I will survive the fall. Don't tell me how to swim when I hit the water. Don't tell me that these things happen for a reason and that it's for the better. Back up to where I am right now. I've just been pushed off a cliff, my body is tumbling, my head is spinning and my heart is gushing. Let me know that you know where I am and what I am feeling. Let me know that you know. That's what this book does. It lets the readers know that the writer knows. It does this through expressive writing that connects directly to what the readers feel in their own lives, with their own losses. The readers know quickly and with certainty that this understanding is genuine. It reaches to the same depths as they are experiencing now, in their own lives. Emotions stream from the heart of the writer to the hearts of the readers. They instinctively know that, finally, someone understands. Each one of these short, independent writings expresses thoughts or feelings from a particular moment in my life after or shortly before my wife died. Some are a few pages long and some are a few sentences. Some relate past experiences and some are mind wanderings. Some are analytical and some are even humorous. Most are packed with emotion. The book is loaded with unanswered questions - just like I am - just like most people are.Loss of a loved one is a fact of life. It touches virtually everyone. There are countless others like me who are not comforted by the cacophony of authoritative assurances. What many people need are words of empathy - nothing more, nothing less. That's what this book offers.I hope that those who read this book will temporarily look away from their current grief and see me in a sidecar traveling the same path. They will pause and take a deep breath. After many days and many breaths, maybe they will gaze more often forward and less often downward. When that happens they will already be in the healing process. This is my hope.Joe Goldbacher
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A glass of Turkish tea, the quintessential expression of Turkish hospitality! Not Turkish coffee, as we westerners might think, as good as that it, but tea, gently brewed, never with milk, usually very sweet. A glass of tea (or two or three) with breakfast, lunch and dinner, and anytime in-between. Get into a conversation with the shop-keeper, and before you know it you hear, "Cay ister misin?" "Would you like some tea?" And you know you are welcomed and accepted. In Turkey we encountered first hand the legendary hospitality of the Middle East-a hospitality we had, in fact, met first in the Bible (Abraham and Sarah welcoming their three visitors, in Genesis 15, for example, or in the ministry and parables of Jesus.) We often call the country of Turkey, "The Other Holy Land," so much of the Bible story takes place there. Living among the Turkish people we find ourselves immersed in a culture much closer to Bible culture than back home in our Western world. As we try to listen with a "Turkish ear," the Word of God comes to life in a fresh way. Recently my wife and I returned to visit this land we have come to love, and this book is partly a journal of that trip. But alongside the travel notes is a series of 25 meditations from Colossians and Philemon. How moving it is to read these letters on location-walking over the ruins of Colossae, wondering where Philemon might have lived, and how he got along with Onesimus his run-away slave, after Paul sent him back now a brother in Christ! Or better-to read these letters in fellowship with the young Turkish church of today. So pour yourself a glass of Turkish tea, sit back, and join us in our pilgrimage through Colossians and Philemon, and across the modern face the Other Holy Land."
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