As Homer wrote in The Iliad, “The fates have given mortals hearts that can endure.”

Through our grief we ponder: How?

Time, we find out. And faith.

In Don’t Let Death Ruin Your Life (Dutton; $23.95), author Jill Brooke recounts a conversation with psychiatrist and death researcher Elisabeth Kübler-Ross.

Ms. Brooke asked her, “What do you say then to the survivors who must pick up the pieces?”

Replied Dr. Kübler-Ross: “You can tell them that you can’t change the direction of the wind. But you can control the setting of the sails.”

Maybe that direction, that knowledge, that coming to terms is what we seek this time of year. Whatever our faith, we yearn for the promise of rebirth, of renewal, of bluebonnets that line the roads no matter how cold and bleak winter has been.

In a recent sermon at First Presbyterian Church of Dallas, senior pastor William J. Carl III talked about dealing with turning points in our lives, those which cause us to look back and say, “That was it. That was the day my life changed completely.”

He spoke about how healing doesn’t come overnight and how, during Lent, we re-evaluate our lives: How fragile they are, and how precious.

On June 14, 1962, Ches and Bill had planned to celebrate their wedding anniversary by having dinner alone at a restaurant near their Baton Rouge, La., home. When Bill had proposed 10 years earlier, he hadn’t kissed Ches but maybe two or three times.

Neither had said, “I love you” to the other. They hadn’t met each other’s families. But without hesitation, Ches said yes. Then she prayed.

“I just said thank you,” she says.

She kept teaching school after they married, but quit when Jimmy – their only blue-eyed child, the proud and protective big brother, the boy who brought his flashlight to bed so he could read after “lights out” - was born.

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