When the World Breaks Your Heart: Spiritual Ways
to Live With Tragedy

Gregory Scott Clapper


Clapper (associate professor of religion and philosophy, University of Indianapolis, and associate director of the Center for Christian Vocation) was on his way to see a movie with his family when he noticed a plane flying low over the airport in Sioux City, Iowa. A dark cloud of smoke soon followed. Then came the radio announcement that United Airlines Flight 232, carrying 297 passengers, had crashed, leaving 113 dead. Clapper rushed to the scene, aiding the rescue workers in an attempt to pull survivors from the wreckage. In those hours following the crash, Clapper found himself being challenged to bring spiritual comfort and understanding to those around him. This text is a reflective look at the memories and lessons Clapper learned from this disaster and its aftermath of pain. The author quickly admits to feeling inadequate as he was called upon to deliver messages of hope to those injured both in body and spirit. He shares stories about relationships formed through mutual suffering and about his role as a spiritual leader and advocate. Throughout this book, he delves into the mystery of suffering and how it has the potential to bring hope and healing, how our lack of control brings a sense of healthy humility and the amazing impact a gentle spirit has on those who require a tender touch. Clapper writes with candor and obvious deep regard for those survivors whose courage has enriched his life immensely.


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