by amy andrews and jessica mesman griffith
loyola, 324 pages, $14.95
Over the course of three years, Amy Andrews and Jessica Mesman Griffith wrote each other what were, for a while, daily letters. This regular exchange began as a Lenten practice: Andrews was preparing to enter the Church; Griffith was her sponsor. Their letters reflect all manner of spiritual concern, thought through and tested against the many works they were reading at the time: authors such as Julian of Norwich, J. M. Coetzee, Pope Benedict XVI, Simone Weil, and Marilynne Robinson.
In the summer of 2006, however, when Andrews’ first child was stillborn, their discourse on conversion and chatter about pregnancy turned into meditations on suffering, death, and the nature of heaven. Love and Salt they would call their collection of letters, salt being the suffering that matures and preserves love.
With each letter, Andrews and Griffith reveal something of what it means to be people of faith, whether confronted by the profound or by the quotidian, or by both at once: “If I could collapse all my experience into an instant, that gradual unfurling of belief that has brought me to this Lent,” writes Andrews, “it would likely be as loud as a thunderclap, bright as a burning bush. But as it is, I squint my eyes and strain my ears and try to discern God.”