Wednesday, July 16, 2014

The Limits of Healing?

“Tell us please, what treatment in an emergency is administered by ear?"....I met his gaze and I did not blink. "Words of comfort," I said to my father.” 
― Abraham Verghese, Cutting for Stone

Gracious words are a honeycomb,
    sweet to the soul and healing to the bones.  
Proverbs 16:24 (NIV)

In the world of healthcare, we continue to struggle within the limits of science and the reality of disease and suffering.  We all know about death and taxes!

What got me thinking about this dilemma was a recent professional conversation regarding a possible repeat cardiac surgery in a drug addicted patient.  It brought to mind a previous patient’s report from over 20 years ago by Lewis Grizzard in two books, They Tore Out My Heart and Stomped That Sucker Flat  and I Took a Lickin’ and Kept on Ticking (And Now I Believe in Miracles).  The dilemma was the same, but what Lewis Grizzard taught me and what he learned was that although death and suffering are certain, there are other dimensions to our lives that transcend those realities.

Lewis Grizzard died after his fourth heart surgery(1994), but his life and reports still bring healing words to those who suffer and are with them.  The healing continues and I have every reason to believe that will continue.  These are holy words of comfort and healing.


“Hope” Sculture by Robert Indiana as reported Chicago Tribune November 2, 2011.
Verghese, A. (2010). Cutting for Stone (1st ed.). Vintage Books.
Grizzard, L. (2010). They Tore Out My Heart and Stomped That Sucker Flat. NewSouth Books. Originally published in 1986
Grizzard, Lewis (2011-12-04). I Took a Lickin' and Kept on Ticking (And Now I Believe in Miracles). Green E-Books. Kindle Edition.  Originally published in 1993
Hage, M. L. (2012). Healing Words. Retrieved from


  1. A post that mentions books by both Abraham Verghese and Lewis Grizzard! You read widely, Marv.

  2. Better than just reading these authors was the opportunity to work in the same neighborhoods as the authors, Johnson City, Tennessee and Columbus, Georgia