How the right words can have the wrong meanings, and why sometimes the best translations lead us to an understanding that’s way deeper than language.
Telling [medical personnel] that they had worked enough became the most important and useful thing that chaplains could do at their post. They looked out for the nurse with dark circles under her eyes. They showed the surgeon working during a battle his red and swollen hands, and told him to get some rest. They waited up for medical staff working late and made sure there was some warm dinner for them, keeping them company while they ate. There was an MO [medical officer] who manned an aid post entirely on his own, night after night, in case casualties crawled in from the dark battlefield. When his chaplain heard about it, he took a chess set and joined the officer in his dugout every night, the two men playing games and listening out for the cries of the wounded.
ἀναθάλλω, anathalló - to shoot up, sprout again, grow green again, flourish again, to revive.
Source: SoundCloud / HannahC815
White House, Oct. 20, 1902
"At this moment, my small daughter being out, I am acting as nurse to two wee guinea pigs, which she feels would not be safe save in the room with me…"
White House, Oct. 19, 1903
"When we got home Mother went up-stairs first and was met by…
Every Christian is either a missionary or an imposter.
The difference between learning a modern language and an ancient language is that in first year French you learn ‘Where is the bathroom?’ and ‘How do I get to the train station?’ and in first year Attic Greek or Latin you learn ‘I have judged you worthy of death’ and ‘The tyrant had everyone in the city killed.’
The object we call a book is not the real book, but its potential, like a musical score or seed. It exists fully only in the act of being read; and its real home is inside the head of the reader, where the symphony resounds, the seed germinates. A book is a heart that only beats in the chest of another.
At times the church of Christ has created institutional ways of challenging pride. Few are more moving than the burial ceremony of the Habsburg emperors, who were laid to rest in the vaults of the Capuchin monastery in Vienna. When Emperor Franz Josef died, the grand cortège arrived at the closed doors of the monastery and a herald knocked at the gate. From within the voice of the Abbot could be heard asking:
‘Who are you, who knocks?’
‘I am Franz Josef, Emperor of Austria, King of Hungary,’ the herald replied.
‘I don’t know you. Tell me again who you are.’
‘I am Franz Josef, Emperor of Austria, King of Hungary, Bohemia, Galicia, Lodomeria, and Dalmatia, Grand Duke of Transylvania, Margrave of Moravia, Duke of Styria and Corinthia…’
‘We still don’t know you. Who are you?’ the sepulchral voice reiterated. Whereupon the herald knelt down and said: ‘I am Franz Josef, a poor sinner humbly begging for God’s mercy.’
‘Thou mayest enter then,’ the Abbot said and the gates were flung open.
It turns out bats (some bats anyway) sing — sing uncannily, spookily, like songbirds, with the trilling, the chirping, as if they were nightingales. [Above] is the song of a Mexican free-tailed bat.
Belief and doubt are living attitudes, and involve conduct on our part. Our only way, for example, of doubting, or refusing to believe, that a certain thing is, is continuing to act as if it were not.
When I think about what it truly means to be a Christ-like man, three words quickly come to mind: ‘Leave her alone.’