Here’s how this week’s arts and culture column begins:

Recently I read a book called “God of Surprises” (Wm. B. Eerdmans Publishing Co, $22.99), in which author Gerard W. Hughes suggests, as a spiritual exercise, writing your own obituary.

In a 2022 column, Father Ron Rolheiser makes a similar suggestion, pointing out: “There comes a time in life when it’s time to stop writing your résumé and begin to write your obituary.”

I’m always at my best in the early morning after a lengthy time alone with Jesus and two cups of strong coffee, which, happily, was the state in which I came upon the passage in “God of Surprises.”


And this week’s video: On Fiducia Supplicans, and the Perils of X/Twitter:


  1. Your self-obit was so good that I started to think I can’t wait for you to die so I can read the finished version, but thought better of it. May you have many more years of grace, growth and glee to glorify the One who made thee.

    1. HEATHER KING says: Reply

      Ha ha don’t worry, Michael, if my mental health doesn’t improve The Great Event will occur sooner rather than later…meanwhile, still working on those character defects!! Happy happy New Year–

  2. hi heather1
    i am so so excited about what you are writing. i like your ” voice” and it helps me with my ” voice”. you give me hope that because it works for you it will work for me too. keep going on this path and best wishes!

  3. I copied the Fr. Simeon quote as a guide to the new year. Will I be able to sustain swimming in that element? We’ll see. Prayer will certainly help. As to the writing of obituaries, I would love to see a completely honest one, with all the faults listed, too.

  4. Now, that’s an obituary! I really liked that psalm verse so I looked it up – it’s actually 26:8. 😜 Thanks for sharing your gifts with us this year, Heather and I’m praying a blessing over your 2024. Tim O’Regan

    1. HEATHER KING says: Reply

      Whoops, oh thanks for the correct cite, Tim, and for the support, and Happy New Year!

  5. Alicia (academic librarian in Tampa, FL) says: Reply

    As always, Heather, I have learned some interesting facts from your writing as well as been induced to reflect on spiritual matters. In the Angelus piece, you quote Fr. Simeon Leiva-Merikakis, whose first name before entering the Trappists (at age 57!) was Erasmo. Those first and last names rang a bell and I wondered if he might be Cuban. I was born in Cuba the year Fidel Castro took over; my family took me out of there in 1960 when I was 6 months old. Turns out Fr. Simeon was born in Cuba in 1946 and his family too left around that time. Also—coincidental to your mentions of him in your article—Fr. Simeon’s birthday was yesterday, 12/28. Also, in addition to all your inspiring thoughts shared, I have learned a verse from the Psalms that will be added to my favorites. Thank you, Heather. I am so glad I discovered you in 2023. Happy New Year.

    1. HEATHER KING says: Reply

      Oh that’s interesting, Alicia–I don’t know much about him except that I think he was married possibly before he became a monk…anyway, his work goes deep and his reflections have helped me…Happy New Year to you!

  6. Anonymous says: Reply

    What a beautiful and thoughtful reflection, Heather. I love the spirit of what you included and omitted… what is relevant in the here and now. Your travels this year have been a joy to co-experiences via your dispatches. I hope that in Tucson you’re enjoying the sunshine and that your painting by our dear Dory continues to resplend in your home. I am curating a career retrospective of her work this coming May at Augen Gallery in Portland, which will be an opportunity to show all periods of her 30-year career and all media including painting, prints, drawings, and sculpture. I continue to miss her terribly, even as my own life continues. Much love to you across the miles. I enjoy your blog posts very much and appreciate your candidly introspective recountings of your geographic and psychological/spiritual journeys. –Richard

    1. HEATHER KING says: Reply

      Happy New Year, Richard…glad you’ve enjoyed my little dispatches and that’s wonderful you’ve curated a retrospective of Dory’s work for this coming May in Portland…I already owned three of her paintings, which I bought way back when we were both at Dorland, and they, and now the new one, absolutely accompany me throughout my days….I have many times brought one of her paintings with me on extended road trips, artist’s residencies, etc–just to have it nearby…beauty, complexity, saturated oranges, golds, blues…so her work has been and continues to be a consolation…wishing you all the very best for 2024 and beyond…

  7. Well ok then. I’ll try. I’ve tried before but get embarrassed. But who better to say what I want to say? Than me? Oh by the way, can I copy? At least your outline! I give you a honorable mention. 😉
    Your words give me much encouragement. Thank you.

    1. HEATHER KING says: Reply

      Ha oh sure, Gloria, feel free to use the “outline!” It’s kind of interesting to just let go and see where our pen leads us…

  8. Michael Demers says: Reply

    I like the idea of writing my own obituary but I’d hate for anyone to read it. I also enjoyed your video and I appreciate your comments on FS.

    1. HEATHER KING says: Reply

      Thanks, Michael–at the end of the day we just keep our heads down and keep trudging, giving thanks all the while..


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