Skip content
Get two free audiobooks AND support local bookstores Make the switch
A Hole in the World by Amanda Held Opelt
  Send as gift   Add to Wish List

Almost ready!

In order to save audiobooks to your Wish List you must be signed in to your account.

      Log in       Create account
Phone showing make the switch message

Limited-time offer

Get two free audiobooks when you make the switch!

Now’s a great time to shop indie. When you start a new membership supporting local bookstores with promo code SWITCH, we’ll give you two bonus audiobook credits at sign-up.

Make the switch
Libro.fm app with gift bow

Gift audiobook credit bundles

You pick the number of credits, your recipient picks the audiobooks, and your local bookstore is supported by your purchase.

Start gifting

A Hole in the World

Finding Hope in Rituals of Grief and Healing

$26.24

Get for $14.99 with membership
Narrator Amanda Held Opelt

This audiobook uses AI narration.

We’re taking steps to make sure AI narration is transparent.

Learn more
Length 8 hours 10 minutes
Language English
  Send as gift   Add to Wish List

Almost ready!

In order to save audiobooks to your Wish List you must be signed in to your account.

      Log in       Create account

In a raw and inspiring reflection on grief, a mourning sister processes her personal story of loss by exploring the history of bereavement customs.

When Amanda Held Opelt suffered a season of loss—including three miscarriages and the death of her grandmother and culminating in the unexpected death of her sister, New York Times bestselling writer Rachel Held Evans—she was confronted with sorrow she didn't know to how face. And through her career as an international aid worker, she traveled to some of the world's most troubled regions, devastated by war, natural disasters, and disease. In the wake of these losses and exposure to trauma, Opelt struggled to process her grief and accept the reality of her pain and the pain in the world. She also wrestled with some unexpectedly difficult questions: What does it mean to truly grieve and to grieve well? Why is it so hard to move on? Why didn't my faith prepare me for this kind of pain? Does the Bible really speak to the heart of sorrow? What am I supposed to do now?

Her search for a way to process her grief led her to seek wisdom about how other people have made it through, and she found that generations past embraced rituals that served as vessels for pain and aided in the process of grieving and healing. Today, many of these traditions have been lost as religious practice declines, cultures amalgamate, death is sanitized, and pain is averted.

In this raw and authentic memoir of bereavement, Opelt explores the history of human grief practices and how previous generations have journeyed through periods of suffering. She explores grief rituals and customs from various cultures, including:


  • • the Irish tradition of keening, or wailing in grief, which teaches her that healing can only begin when we dive headfirst into our grief

  • • the Victorian tradition of post-mortem photographs and how we struggle to recall a loved one as they were

  • • the Jewish tradition of sitting shiva, which reminds her to rest in the strength of her community even when God feels absent

  • • the tradition of mourning clothing, which set the bereaved apart in society for a time, allowing them space to honor their grief

As Opelt explores each bereavement practice, it allows her to utilize these rituals as a framework for processing her own pain. She shares how, in spite of her doubt and anger, God met her in the midst of sorrow and grieved along with her. This book is a testament to the idea that when we carefully and honestly attend to our losses, we are able to expand our capacity for love, faith, and healing.

Amanda Held Opelt is an author, speaker, and songwriter.  She writes about faith, grief, and creativity, and believes in the power of community, ritual, worship and shared stories to heal even our deepest wounds.  Amanda has spent the last 15 years as a social worker and humanitarian aid worker.  She lives in the mountains of Boone, North Carolina with her husband and young two daughters. 

Amanda Held Opelt is an author, speaker, and songwriter.  She writes about faith, grief, and creativity, and believes in the power of community, ritual, worship and shared stories to heal even our deepest wounds.  Amanda has spent the last 15 years as a social worker and humanitarian aid worker.  She lives in the mountains of Boone, North Carolina with her husband and young two daughters. 

Phone showing make the switch message

Limited-time offer

Get two free audiobooks when you make the switch!

Now’s a great time to shop indie. When you start a new membership supporting local bookstores with promo code SWITCH, we’ll give you two bonus audiobook credits at sign-up.

Make the switch
Libro.fm app with gift bow

Gift audiobook credit bundles

You pick the number of credits, your recipient picks the audiobooks, and your local bookstore is supported by your purchase.

Start gifting
Get two free audiobooks AND support local bookstores Make the switch