The Institute for Spirituality and Health
Exploring the connections between spirituality and health.


Spirited Words

See below for a collection of reflections, writings, essays, poems, and other contributions that the ISH community has submitted over the years. We hope you enjoy.

If you are interested in submitting a piece to our blog, please contact Anyang Anyang <>. We publish writing that relates to our mission of enhancing well-being by exploring the relationship between spirituality and health.


Holy Days Give Meaning to Life

By John Graham

April 15th, 2014

When I was a boy and was baptized at age 12, I hung a picture of Jesus on the wall over my bed.  I felt very holy until my mother said, “John, people will think we are Catholic and worship idols.”  At the time I didn’t realize it was bad to be a Catholic and I didn’t think a picture on the wall meant I was worshipping idols.  In obedience, I took the picture down, folded it, and put it in my pocket.  I didn’t throw it away.  The picture was special.  It was holy to me.  It reminded me of the vows I had made at my baptism.

The word “holy” is used for those things we set apart unto God.  They are sacred.  They can be a picture, place, a relic, or written word.   Days on the calendar can be set apart and declared holy unto God.  Passover for the Jew, Holy Week for the Christian, and the month of Ramadan for the Muslim.

Holy days become holy when we turn our minds, hearts, and will towards God.  Faith systems assist by calling us to worship, to sing and inviting us to humble ourselves before God in repentance.  Spiritual disciplines of prayer, meditation, fasting, and giving of alms to the poor can draw us closer to the God we serve.

During our Holy Days we can also give thanks for God’s love for all people including those who are not of our own faith.   My wife and I have been invited into the home of Muslims during Ramadan and appreciated their expression of hospitality and love towards us.   What a beautiful example.   Breaking bread together can help break down the walls that divide us into warring camps.

Holy days can do that  – they can break down the walls that separate us from God, from other people and from God’s creation.   Holy days can also break down our own inner walls that separate us from our true self — from who we are truly meant to be.  In other words, holy days can make us whole and give meaning to our lives. 

Rejoice in God and every day can become holy.

By John K Graham, President

Sara Moore