"In addition to our primal drive for connection, we each have an instinctive impulse to give and receive love. We have a deep desire for healing and wholeness. Thankfully, honest, heartfelt, well-chosen words have the power to heal and make us whole."
These words, from "The Four Things That Matter Most: A Book About Living," are written by Ira Byock, M.D. Any one of us who has been abused by words (all of us?) knows that words can destroy the soul. Anyone who has had a parent, spouse or child find our vulnerable soft spot and rip into it, knows the power of words. But words as healers can be just as powerful.
Byrock is a leading palliative care physician and long time advocate for improving end-of-life care. He is director of palliative medicine at Dartmouth Hitchcock Medical Center and a faculty member of Dartmouth School of Medicine.
In "The Four Things," Byock concentrates on the phrases "Please forgive me, I forgive you, thank you, and I love you." He uses powerful stories to show how relationships have been healed. Even the bond between once abusive parents and the abused adult child have, under Byrok's guidance, come around.
Byrock's way with a story is a gift and he uses it to convince the reader of the truth as he sees it. Without the stories, it would be impossible to believe his premise. With the stories, the reader - at least this reader - is left in awe.
How can a young man, who was rejected by his father, forgive his father, let alone ask his father to forgive him? How can he say "I love you" to this man who disowned him? Byrock convinces him to try. The outcome is very close to a miracle.
Byrock stresses that we don't need to wait until there's a crisis; until someone is dying. Earlier healing can begin when someone is willing to say "The Four Things" to another human being.
Byrock writes, "...forgiveness is not about the other person; it's about you. Whether or not the person who abused you benefits from your forgiveness is not the issue. The issue is the quality of your life."
"The Four Things That Matter Most" is available online and in bookstores. The hardcopy sells for $23.00.
Published On: April 03, 2007