Lessons in Being

“…deeply personal, warm, accessible, and highly readable. I couldn’t put it down.” Margaret B. Guenther


Reader's Reflection Guide


  • The book begins with a voice prompting Eckerman to write her story as a legacy for her children. However, it wasn’t until she faced a serious operation a year later that she began putting pen to paper. What experience in your own life has caused you to consider the legacy you will leave behind? How were you prompted to action?
  • Eckerman identifies six lessons she lived by in childhood (p7-8). Write out what lessons your upbringing taught you. Now write out what lessons you currently live by. Are the two lists different? Why or why not? Lastly, if you could only live by one life lesson, what would it be? Write it down.
  • Church played a pivotal role in Eckerman’s sense of belonging as she grew up. However, she writes, “Church gave me a taste of “family,” of being held within a caring community; yet I always remained an outsider” (p20). How have you experienced a sense of both belonging and distance from faith traditions?
  • Eckerman writes about wanting to make “a good adult life” for herself. How do you define what entails a “good life”? By whose standards are you measuring its goodness?
  • Eckerman decided to make a “gift box” when life threatened to overwhelm (p47). To what or to whom do you go when feeling buried by burdens? List five things you would put in your own gift box now and consider pulling them out when feeling tired, stressed, or lost.
  • Eckerman celebrated “A Service of Coming to Faith” in which she professed her beliefs about God to her community (p80). If you were to celebrate a similar service, what three statements would you make about the divine? What music would you chose? Whom would you invite to gather with you?
  • As Eckerman begins to experience healing in her relationship with her mother, she writes her a letter that she ultimately never gives her (p112-114). To whom might you need to write a letter in order to offer or ask forgiveness? Would you send it?
  • Ultimately, Eckerman defines her faith as “an experience of and openness to a mystery that penetrates and binds together all of creation”(p81). How would you define your faith?