1. Father Tim says that he’s “beyond serving the mission field” but realizes that his own town is a mission field. Managing the Local for a desperately ill Avis Packard, he sacrifices several months of his time and energy. Think of your own life—have you ever had to make sacrifices for someone you love? What was most challenging about the experience?
2. Do you believe Sammy can one day forgive his mother? Have you ever had to forgive a deep wound?
3. Do you think Sammy let Pauline win the pool game? If so, why would he do that?
4. All three generations of Kavanaghs seem eager to verbally express their love for each other. For example, there’s Dooley’s “I love you big,” and their classic family exchange of “Love you!” followed by the familiar “Love you back!” What are other ways of expressing love? How do you express love to your family and friends?
5. Jan Karon loves animals, and has a special affection for dogs. In To Be Where You Are
, dogs and cats seem to sprout in nearly every chapter. Father Tim resisted having another dog; he felt betrayed when Gus was pressed on him. Have you ever learned to love an unwelcome gift? Do you believe animals can be good for our health? Have you had an experience in which your pet helped you in some way?
6. Is anyone in your family or circle of friends an artist, budding or accomplished? Do you support and encourage their gift? How can encouragement affect creative work?
7. In To Be Where You Are
, the three generations live their lives within the same time frame, just twenty minutes away from each other. What do you think the older generation owes the younger, and vice versa?
8. Father Tim and Cynthia’s Christmas observance this year is rich, but comparatively simple: a tree, an oyster pie, midnight mass, and two gifts each. What is your ideal way to enjoy Christmas?
9. Toward the end of the book, Brooke Logan listens to but rejects Father Tim’s counsel on forgiveness. He doesn’t pursue her reasoning, but lets her know she can call him anytime. Has anyone ever resisted your help when you tried to lend them a hand? What happened, and why do you think they reacted the way they did?
10. If you are among the readers who have followed Tim and Cynthia through the Mitford series, you know them like family. Where do you think they will go on this major vacation . . . other than to Henry’s wedding?