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Chapel Newsletter Editorial

C H A P E L   N E W S

Spring 2014

Meaning beyond tragedy


Shortly before he died, the theologian and civil rights activist, Rabbi Abraham Joshua Heschel, was asked if he had a message for young people. Heschel responded, saying:  “Let them remember that there is a meaning beyond absurdity. Let them be sure that every little deed counts, that every word has power, and that we can do, everyone, our share to redeem the world, in spite of all absurdities, and all the frustrations, and all the disappointment. And above all, remember that the meaning of life is to live life as if it were a work of art.  (From Heschel's final interview with NBC-TV journalist Carl Stern, Feb 4, 1972.)


On Saturday, April 5th, we will hold a memorial service for Talia Goldenberg ’12, who died on February 20th from respiratory arrest that occurred after a surgery.  And on Saturday, April 12th, we will hold a memorial service for James Adams ’15, Michael Goodgame ’15, and Paxton Harvieux ’15, who died on Feb 28th in a car accident caused by icy roads.  These are terrible tragedies—young people should not die, parents should not have to bury their children.  There is no purpose or greater good served by these heartbreaking deaths. 

Yet, as Heschel said, there is meaning beyond this meaninglessness.  There is a purpose to life.  We can each love others, despite the pain of loss that often accompanies that love.  Whether or not you understand this love to be part of a greater Love, we can each make a difference in the world through our large and small acts of beauty and love.

These four gifted young people were building their lives as works of art.  As we hold their memories in our hearts, let us continue to build our own lives with love, hope, passion, and, yes, even joy.  

                                                                                                                           In faith and love,


                                                                                                                           Carolyn Fure-Slocum, Chaplain