Author Caren Goldman, a former Toledoan living in Florida, was honored as one of the nation's best spiritual writers of 2011 for her book Restoring Life's Missing Pieces: The Spiritual Power of Remembering and Reuniting with People, Places, Things, and Self (Skylight Paths).
Ms. Goldman's fourth book on religion and psychology deals with "the Holy Spirit of Re-Union"-- a need deep within each person to connect with his or her past.
Ms. Goldman said it's not a topic she expected to write about.
"I typically have been somebody who always avoided reunions," she said. Rather than attend family or class reunions, she preferred one-on-one visits. But her feelings changed over time.
"I'm in my 60s now, and as you get older … you start to view life in a different way than you did before. I found I was fascinated with the reasons and the questions as to why I was attracted to and why I was not attracted to these reunions. I knew it was all about me and not the people who were there."
She questions why people sign up for Facebook. On the surface, it is to reconnect with people. But why do we want to reconnect, she asks. What changes when we find out what our friends are doing? It's the Spirit of Re-Union making us more aware of who we are by connecting with people and places that are part of our lives, she said.
"At the deepest level, we are able to start putting the missing pieces together for our own story," Ms. Goldman said. "The spiritual life comes alive when we see something or experience something that resonates with the past in one way or another."
Restoring Life's Missing Pieces draws from a wide spectrum of spiritual and cultural sources, with Ms. Goldman citing the Bible, the Qur'an, Hasidic rabbis, architect Frank Lloyd Wright, and philosopher Arthur Schopenhauer, among others. That diversity reflects Ms. Goldman's own worldview. A Jew, she is married to the Rev. Ted Voorhees, an Episcopal priest who was rector at St. Mark's Episcopal Church from 1989-2004.
More information is at carengoldman.com.
The Best Spiritual Writing honors are bestowed annually by Mary Ann and Frederic Brussat of the and Practice Web site.