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The Depositions


The Depositions, by Thomas Lynch

8/60 | Started 01.30.23 • Finished 02.27.23 | 3 stars


Having really enjoyed two of Lynch's previous works, The Undertaking and Bodies in Motion and at Rest, I thought I'd hit the jackpot when on a whim I looked him up recently and discovered several more books.


They understood that the meaning of life is connected, inextricably, to the meaning of death; that mourning is a romance in reverse, and if you love, you grieve and there are no exceptions - only those who do it well and those who don't. And if death is regarded as an embarrassment or inconvenience, if the dead are regarded as a nuisance from whom we seek a hurried riddance, then life and the living in for like treatment.

To be short and sweet about it, I did not find these recent writings anywhere near as compelling as his earlier work. I don't know if it's because I remember him making more connections between life and death and God than he actually did, or if his views have changed since he wrote the essays in the two books I mentioned. He does write often in this work of something along the lines of "the God I'm not sure I believe in anymore."


Possibly these are the miracles we fail to see, on the lookout as we are for signs and wonders: for seas that part for us to pass through, skies that open to a glimpse of heaven, the paralytic who stands and walks, the blind who begin to see, the shortfall that becomes a sudden abundance. Maybe what we miss are the ordinary miracles, the ones who have known us all along - the family and friends, the fellow pilgrims who show up, pitch in and do their parts to get us where we need to go, within earshot and arms’ reach of our healing, the earthbound, everyday miracle of forbearance and forgiveness, the help in dark times to light the way, the ones who turn up when there is trouble to save us from our hobbled, heart-wrecked selves.

In one sense it's kind of heartbreaking. I found these works a bit of a slog to get through at times, and I didn't resonate near as much with them. There was enough good writing to earn three stars but in my mind it didn't live up to his earlier work.


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