Starting Point
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Issue Date:  June 17, 2005

Starting Point


I have Meniere’s disease, which causes severe vertigo attacks. Recently, I had what I call an “I can’t believe I lived to tell about it” episode. Later, feeling weak and shaky, I sat propped on the sofa, and my husband tucked a soft blanket up to my chin.

Knowing I was unable to tolerate light, he dimmed the lamps and retreated to the kitchen to make me my favorite tomato soup with milk. You have to watch and tend it carefully so it doesn’t scald. He brought me a bowl, and I slowly savored it a spoonful at a time. It was delicious and nurturing.

There are times in our lives when we all need to be taken care of. To be lovingly tended to when we are troubled, ill or wounded in some way soothes our pain and creates a feeling of relief, comfort and well-being. To be able to receive loving care and to be able to extend loving care are for me the foundation stones of spiritual healing and empowerment.

When I think of how much I needed that bowl of tomato soup and how much receiving it strengthened me both physically and emotionally, the words of Jesus, “Let us love one another, for love is of God” came to mind.

Such a simple thing, a bowl of tomato soup. Our thoughts, words and deeds also can seem simple, yet they, like the tomato soup, will scald if not carefully tended in the process of creating and offering them. It is the tender loving care that generates healing.

Joni Woelfel is the author of The Edge of Greatness.

National Catholic Reporter, June 17, 2005

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