“... if we are willing, the experience of grief can deepen and widen our ability to participate in life. We can become more grateful for the gifts we have been given, more open-handed in our handling of the events of life, more sensitive to the whole mysterious process of life, and more trusting in our adventure with God.”– Tracks of a Fellow Struggler

Life is Gift

A pivotal point in Claypool’s life was the death of his young daughter, Laura Lue, after an eighteen month battle with leukemia.  Her illness and premature death at age ten took a toll on Claypool, his wife and their son.  In spite of efforts to reconcile, Claypool’s first marriage ended in divorce in 1981.  After grappling emotionally with his daughter’s death, Claypool emerged from his grief with a new sense of what he  understood to be God’s intention for his life.  He was able to see that “life is gift,” freely given by God at birth and not something to be earned or taken as a possession.  Claypool’s most well-known book, Tracks of a Fellow Struggler, is comprised of four sermons that describe Claypool’s spiritual journey during his daughter’s illness and after her death.

Life is Gift, 1970, Crescent Hill Baptist Church, Louisville, KY. A sermon delivered only four weeks after Lara Lue’s death in 1970. Later in his career, Claypool referenced this sermon as pivotal in his adopting a confessional style of preaching.

The Christian Understanding of Death, 1972, Broadway Baptist Church, Forth Worth, TX. Claypool explains his view that death is "Act Three" of life - not a regression into nothingness, but a progression to another stage.

Confessional Preaching, 1982, Consultation on Preaching, Stone Mountain, GA. Claypool describes the confessional style of preaching, its effectiveness, and the experiences that led him to adopt this method.

Growing Through Grief, 2002, Trinity Episcopal Church, New Orleans, LA. A talk occasioned by the Stephen Ministry, a special outreach to those facing especially hard life challenges. Claypool discusses the loss of his daughter and offers what he has learned about the sensitive interaction with one who is experiencing grief.

Courage and Death, 1979, Northminster Baptist Church, Jackson, MS. Claypool discusses death as the great unknown of life and how to meet it courageously:  with hope, trust and courage rather than with fear and foreboding. Jesus teaches us, "Be not afraid."

Claypool's daughter Laura Lue, pictured here in 1960 at eleven months old, died of leukemia in 1970 at the age of ten.

Brochure for a workshop that Claypool gave which explored "the need to enrich and enlarge one's understandings of the dynamics of grief." Throughout his life, Claypool shared with others what he had learned about grief and life through his sermons, publications, and speaking engagements, 1998.