As a reviewer of books it is a privilege to write reviews. This one is special. As I read this book I realized I was peeking into private personal space. (mine as well as the author’s) As Dr. Groothuis thinks deeply about his experience and recounts them to us vulnerable and honest. Sort of like reading someone else's mail. An older brother helping us clean up the mess we made.
I am barely acquainted with the author, just a face in the crowd. But for you dear reader I offer as my review this open letter so that you may get a glimmer of the same experience I had reading this work of faith.
Dear Dr. G,
I just finished your book, “Walking Through Twilight: A Wife's Illness--A Philosopher's Lament”. I have to tell you, while reading your book, I felt like I was walking in your shadow. Although a shadow it was reflective. Dark yet strangely shimmering. Like when I put my John Coletrane vinyl on my turntable and it reflects the light coming in the window and makes it dance on the ceiling as I listen to “A Love Supreme”.
The reflections off your shadow leave a trail to follow. You have become a trailblazer and a guide. It’s not that I have never had a dark night of the soul, it’s that I have just barely learned to navigate them. Yet you are encouraging me not to just navigate them but to navigate them well. I suppose it is your gift to put into words what others can only sense. Thank you.
I need to tell you what touched me most. You mentioned the eeriness of lament and how opaque our situations can be. This description helps, it orients me to normal, or at least the normal of the lament. Your reflections on Psalm 90 was like a flash of lightning at night, illuminating the surroundings for just a split second. As it did I could see my lament wrapped up inside God’s bigger world. It’s as if “My God, my God why have you forsaken me” is surrounded in the greater “the steadfast love of the Lord never ceases”.
Thank you for this. I have already given a copy to a good friend and companion in lament. As our generation of baby boomers grow older lament will be more and more our new normal. I am grateful for this thoughtful and considerate guide.
Yours in lament,