Today I write with the heartbreaking news that my beloved husband, Andy Gardner, is close to death. He was diagnosed with liver cancer a week ago and has been declining steadily ever since.
I will be spending the next month beginning to learn the long, excruciating lesson of living without him and organizing financial and legal matters. I am taking a complete break from Radical Joy for Hard Times until September 14.
But I discovered something amazing this morning as I sat on the porch at the hospice watching the Earth awaken in the woods. I have known since I was a little girl that great beauty, light, and love can pierce you in the midst of great sorrow. Today I realized that by opening up to grief, we also find ourselves capable of giving even more beauty, light, and love. I am grateful beyond measure for the love of my friends, the gorgeous endurance of the Earth, and small acts like the kindness of a doctor who lovingly touched my hand at the end of her visit yesterday. There is beauty everywhere if we’ll just look.
I have written in my book that we could think of care for the Earth as a form of hospice. The more fearlessly loving we are—of Earth, people, our calling—the more we are blessed with beauty and grace.
—Trebbe Johnson

Trebbe Johnson
Trebbe JohnsonFounder
Trebbe is the author of The World Is a Waiting Lover and 101 Ways to Make Guerrilla Beauty. Her new book, Radical Joy for Hard Times: Finding Meaning and Making Beauty, will be published in Fall 2018 by North Atlantic Books. Her articles about people’s emotional and spiritual relationship with nature have appeared in Orion, Sierra, Ecopsychology, The Ecologist, The Nation, Harper’s and other magazines. She lives with her husband, Andrew Gardner, in rural northeastern Pennsylvania, a region currently under exploitation by natural gas companies.

Image Credit:

  • IMG 0976: Liz Brensinger


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Radical Joy Revealed is a weekly message of inspiration about finding and making beauty in wounded places.