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Nov 23 2016
The mercy of healthcare.
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As we look ahead to Thanksgiving, sadly, many are concerned there is little to be thankful for as they believe the world is a mess. I urge us to take a more positive look at Thanksgiving, since there is much more for us to give thanks for.

Pope Francis said mercy is “the fundamental law that dwells in the heart of every person who looks sincerely into the eyes of his brothers and sisters on the path of life … the bridge that connects God and [us], opening our hearts to the hope of being loved forever.” Experiencing mercy provides much to be thankful for.

We experience mercy in our daily lives by interacting with those who are sick, elderly, homebound, incarcerated, or suffer mental health and/or addiction issues. The essence of mercy is reflected in how we treat others. While not always realizing it or acting on it, are we touching the lives of others through mercy?

Health care workers experience mercy to even greater levels. They care for those in need. This may be helping patients eat or walk. It may be visiting with patients and getting to know them — not simply taking their vitals. It is holding their hand when communicating sad news or celebrating positive news. It may be counseling people through the chaos of health care when figuring out how to pay their bills.

Archbishop Blase Cupich of Chicago said, “The mission of Catholic health care is to … highlight that what you are presently doing in caring; for the sick gives people hope, awakens in them the beauty of life, disposes them to the call of God. The work … is a good example of how to treat people who are searching in life for answers.”

While health care workers should set an example for mercy, nobody is perfect. Regardless of our profession, are we opening our arms to embrace others in acts of mercy? We are all taught to be merciful during our lives. We learned to help those in need. We were instructed to help the invisible become visible. We are supposed to love others.

There is a story about a blind man sitting on a street corner with a can seeking spare change. His sign reads: “I’m blind. Please help.” A few people drop change in the can. A woman stops by. Instead of placing change in the can, she picks up the sign and writes on it. Throughout the day, nearly everyone who walks by is now placing change in the can. The man asks someone what his sign says and is told, “It’s a beautiful day and I can’t see it.”

This is mercy. It’s simple. We create our own acts of healing mercy toward each other. In doing this, our community will experience divine mercy — absolutely something for which to be thankful.

David Yeghiaian is administrative director of Corporate Development and Strategic Growth at Holy Family Memorial. Reach him at dyeghiaian@hfmhealth.org.




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