The House You Live In

Rachel Martin, near the end of a May 2023 interview with actor Rainn Wilson, asked him, “To see sacredness in the everyday means purging yourself of cynicism, doesn’t it?” He answered “yes” and went on to describe an interaction he had with André Gregory that challenged Wilson’s cynicism. Commenting about her interview with Wilson, Martin said she, “…realized that fostering hope and fostering joy in others is maybe our highest spiritual calling…

Martin’s question about the sacredness in the everyday brought to mind words from the lyrics of a song by Peter Mayer, Holy Now.

When holy water was rare at best It barely wet my fingertips. Now I have to hold my breath Like I’m swimming in a sea of it. It used to be a world half there, Heaven’s second rate hand me down. Now I walk it with a reverent air, ‘Cause everything is holy now.

Atheists and agnostics and the deeply religious, I suspect, all might agree on the sacredness or holiness of “everything,” though the term they use to describe those conditions probably differ. However, of course, there are people—like me, from time to time in years past—who say everything “just is,” with no attribution of any sort of majesty or awe-inspiring characteristics. On one hand, I fully understand that position. But on the other, I think that attitude gets in the way of accepting the magic of the universe; which is not to say, by the way, that there is a God. I believe God is a human creation, an attempt to enable us to explain the inexplicable. But perhaps, if that human creation leads people to foster hope and joy in others, it is worth accepting, even by atheists and agnostics.

I vacillate between hope and despair, which is by no means a path to stability and happiness. Hope arises when I view humanity as an unnecessary component of the universe that is conscious of its good fortune in realizing both its irrelevance and its good fortune and sentience. Despair surfaces when I see humanity as blind to its potential, which is unreachable due to humans’ arrogance and willful ignorance. If only I could stabilize my senses, somewhere near the mid-range of that sine wave.


If the world’s media that has an online presence would collectively work to establish a single “point of entry” for access to every online media outlet, I would be happy to pay a reasonable price for entry. Clicking on a story linked from the main page of The Times of London leads me to a few of the story’s introductory paragraphs, but I can go no further without subscribing for the low, low price of £1 for 6 months. After that, though, access would be available only on payment of £10 per month. Perhaps a bit steep, but “doable.” But access to The Times, The New York Times, San Francisco Chronicle, Arkansas Democrat-Gazette, Sentinel-Record, etc. at their regular (or even introductory) rates would be unaffordable. A collective fee structure, shared by multiple online media companies, might make widespread access more readily available while simultaneously generating revenue (perhaps even more than current practices generate, due to larger audiences willing to pay for broader access). That my idea for the day; probably a repeat of an idea I have had for years, but still high on my list of things that would improve my online experience.


May the house you live in never fall down.

About John Swinburn

"Love not what you are but what you may become."― Miguel de Cervantes
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