As we retreat from one another and the world to reduce our risk of contagion, the passing of harmful substances from one person to another, it makes me wonder about the transmission of health. Is this something that may also be passed from one person to another? It would seem not, because health is not … Continue reading Can health also be contagious?
Reading the Bible on the one-year plan is a fascinating experience. I've read it in bits and pieces before, but never so intensively. One thing I did not expect was how illuminating it would be to read the Old Testament. It is full of rich, archetypal picture-language that can still speak to us today with … Continue reading Our daily bread
Last month we went to see the touring version of the new London production of Les Misérables in Zürich. I saw the original New York production many years ago as a teenager, and vividly recall how deeply I was moved; it stirred me to my core in a way I could not explain, as all … Continue reading Do you hear the people sing?
Continuing with the theme from my previous post, here is a poem about that most wonderful, challenging adventure of living and loving together. Marriage It’s not all flowers and Valentines, Nor kisses and endearing words, Not after the first few rosy years When the freshness has worn off. It’s having our four feet planted On … Continue reading Marriage – a poem
This essay was previously published in the now-defunct online journal Enchanted Conversation. In fairy tales, marriage has a double nature. Its most well-known aspect is as a sign of completion, fulfillment and union; the end of the story, beyond which no more need be told. Cinderella, Briar Rose—this is what we mean when we say … Continue reading Beyond the happy ending
I've started a project of reading the Bible in one year, using an app that divides it into three daily readings from the Psalms and Proverbs, New Testament, and Old Testament, with commentary. I don't always agree with the evangelical bent of the commentator, but mostly the themes and resonances that he points out are … Continue reading Wrestling with fear
In a video course about mindfulness meditation that I've been watching, there is a segment that discusses the importance of compassion, even and especially toward those for whom we feel antipathy, aversion, and even enmity. The simple practice is suggested of saying to oneself, when inconvenienced or annoyed by someone: "Just like me." That lady … Continue reading Just like me
What is it really that we should write in our hearts — the feeling that we may have on this Christmas night? In this Christmas night there should pour into our hearts the fundamental human feeling of love, the fundamental feeling that says: compared with all other forces and powers and treasures of the world, … Continue reading The greatest power
Last month, I spent some time hiking with my family in the mountains near Thun. This is the "Bernese Oberland" region, gateway to the Alps. We took a funicular up to the Niederhorn (Switzerland is full of such conveniences) and hiked along a ridge for a few hours. The views were magnificent; we could see … Continue reading Peak experience
Life in Switzerland does require some adjustments. For example, there are things one routinely finds in the grocery store here that one does not in the States, some more welcome than others: Quince Venison Quark Chestnut paste 8 zillion kinds of chocolate bars And there are the things one doesn't find, and that I miss: … Continue reading Other tongues