During the 12 or 13 years that we have produced Liberating Word the number of “subscribers” has waxed and waned. These days, it often is read from Facebook or Twitter, so tracking readership is more challenging. One thing we always have tried to monitor is the number of people who unsubscribe and why.

In the beginning, people most often unsubscribed when we took on issues like gun control or capital punishment. In those days, I was based in Texas, and, there, those two issues are sacraments. So, I received lots of negative feedback, which I took as compliments.

For a season, this space became more devotional, which people seemed to like but, frankly, could get elsewhere. Of late, we have returned to our roots and tried to articulate progressive issues through a faith-based lens. I assumed that would lead to lots of unsubscribes, and there have been some. There was a day recently, though, with a number of unsubscribes, and I was surprised when I looked at the subject of that day’s word.

What seems to turn people away lately is when I write about Bill, or how I am dealing with his death and my journey of grief. Now, in fairness, many of you have written to thank me for being open about the pain I have known, but it clearly makes some folks uncomfortable. At one point, we counted more than 70 people who had not returned to Virginia-Highland Church after Bill died.

Some folks seem to think that, after 10 months, I should be moving on or at least doing better than I am. Indeed, I am one of those people. I suspect no one is more surprised or disappointed to discover that time doesn’t heal. Truthfully, I am as depressed, angry, and hopeless as I was in July. While that may say something about my mental health, I wonder if it also speaks about the power of love and the grief that comes when that love is torn from your life yet you survive.

We live in a day in which we think we can fix anything, pop a pill and move on, think positively and things will get better. The trouble is death is permanent, and you can’t do anything about it … except unsubscribe to anything that asks us to consider it as a fact of life.




Rev. Michael Piazza