The Healing Power of Kindness - March 10, 2021

We live in an amazing age of science and technology where medical advances are bringing treatments to conditions that once were thought incurable. Is the importance of kindness and compassion being lost with all of the focus on science and technology?

Posted
March 13, 2021
Book open with lights pouring out of it

The Healing Power of Kindness - March 10, 2021

We live in an amazing age of science and technology where medical advances are bringing treatments to conditions that once were thought incurable. Is the importance of kindness and compassion being lost with all of the focus on science and technology?

Posted
March 13, 2021

"Kindness is the greatest love, it is the healing touch, it is the light of our soul, it is a message from the heart." ~ Debashish Mridha

JFS Friends – 

Albert Schweitzer (1875 – 1965) was a theologian, writer, humanitarian, philosopher, and physician; he received the 1952 Nobel Peace Prize for his philosophy of "Reverence for Life". One of his quotes that has been on my mind a lot lately is about kindness – he said:

“Constant kindness can accomplish much.
As the sun makes ice melt,
kindness causes misunderstanding, mistrust, and hostility to evaporate.”

We live in an amazing age of science and technology where medical advances are bringing treatments to conditions that once were thought incurable. There is much to be thankful for about all of this but I sometimes wonder if the importance of kindness and compassion is being lost with all of the focus on science and technology. I think it is important to remember that true healing involves more than eliminating bacteria, or viruses or fixing broken body parts. Healing comes when compassion, kindness and connection relieve emotional suffering and help people feel cared for and cared about.

In our work with clients, the community and each other we, of course, want to pursue evidence based best practices to make sure that we are offering services in a way that is most helpful and impactful to our clients but I think it is equally important to make sure that we never lose sight of the importance of a caring word, a smile – that personal touch that creates an opportunity to turn treatment into healing.

Rabbi Abraham Joshua Heschel (1907 – 1972) said:

"When I was young, I admired clever people.
Now that I am old, I admire kind people."

I would like to share a personal example of an incredible kindness that was shown to my family. A few months ago, my husband and I were going through a particularly challenging time and a friend who lives out-of-state wanted to offer support. Travel was restricted because of COVID so a personal visit didn’t seem possible at the time. Instead, she decided to send something comforting to us so she knit a beautiful afghan for us and sent it along. This alone would have been a wonderful, caring and healing gesture.

The story doesn’t stop there, however. As we were opening the box and were admiring her beautiful handiwork an envelope fell out and - when we opened it - there was a note saying that even though she couldn’t be there in person to give us a hug she was hoping this would help. We then noticed that she had gone to each of our relatives that lived near her and took a picture of them hugging the afghan and included those pictures with the gift along with a note saying that when we used the afghan she hoped that we could feel the hugs that she was sending along with it. To be honest – I believe that it worked. Every time I touch that afghan I can feel the warmth, love and caring of those people who participated in the incredible act of kindness to make it and send it to us in that special way.

There is a beautiful tradition in Judaism called Hiddur Mitzvah that has to do with fulfilling an obligation or doing something in a way that does more than the minimum – that adds a measure of extra beauty, kindness or specialness to an act. The amazing gift from our friend is a wonderful example of HIddur Mitzvah. The extra steps our friend took to show kindness and caring to us at a difficult time created a healing moment that was unique and special.

I hope that in the coming days and weeks we will each find the opportunity to show appreciation to someone that has made us feel noticed, connected, cared for and cared about. I hope also that you know that these Wednesday’s Words are my way of attempting to do the same for you. I see each of you - every day - finding ways to go the extra mile to be present in a meaningful way with those that come to JFS at a time of crisis or need.

Well that’s what I think.

Thanks for listening,

Carl Josehart's signature

Carl E. Josehart, MSW (he/him/his)

Chief Operating Officer

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