Elders on Love is a book that seeks to bring insights, people and generations together, and offers “love as the missing link,” but ends with diverse views.
Rabbi Zalman M. Schachter-Shalomi (From Age-ing to Sage-ing author ) contributes a thoughtful preface about the nature of love. The authors, two baby-boomer clinical psychologists, interview seven “elders”: men and women beyond middle age who are educated, experienced and wise.
These include an atheist, a former Roman Catholic nun, a Christian who enjoys the Quakers, a Jew who practices Eastern Mysticism, two Unitarians, and a recovering alcoholic from a Presbyterian family. This diverse mixture of elders are asked questions such as “what is true love?”, “can love be taught?” and “how many different kinds of love exist?”. Together with the authors these elders discuss their life-stories and experiences of love in its many forms—romantic, spiritual, familial and sexual—and share their thoughts on how a current awareness of love has the potential to transform communities.
Readers will enjoy the words and ideas of the elders. Pauline Thompson, for example, a 92-year-old former teacher, nurse and psychotherapist, is a delight. She is intelligent, and élan vital runs through her comments. Dee Jaehrling, the former nun, is captivating in her comments about Franciscan life and thoughts, prayer and music.
The book sometimes suffers from continuity difficulties because it wasn’t conceived as a book, but as an offshoot of a video project. It is redeemed, however, with wonderful descriptions such as when Abraham Levitsky describes the love and caring of his spiritual teacher: Ramesh; or when Jaehrling recounts her young students saying a printed line on a poster is for “those who can’t read pictures.”
Disclosure: This article is not an endorsement, but a review. The author of this book provided free copies of the book to have their book reviewed by a professional reviewer. No fee was paid by the author for this review. Foreword Reviews only recommends books that we love. Foreword Magazine, Inc. is disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255.