How We Heal

This week, my cousin shared a short video with me. In it, a young woman in Israel, whose husband is a unit commander in Gaza, shared a thought about how we can find space for positive thoughts in an environment where we are surrounded by sadness, anger or despair.

Her simple idea was - create it yourself. When you’ve got something to talk about, call a friend, bring over a coffee and a muffin, and sit TOGETHER to talk or laugh or cry. Draw your tribe IN. She shared a video of her husband, telling his soldiers - “Guys, I have news for you.” They all stopped to listen. “Listen, you’re not going home tomorrow as expected.” A collective groan. “No. You are going home tonight. Now. Grab your gear.” The gathered troops erupted with joy and relief.

Finally she shared that a line many of us are familiar with from the Birkat Hamazon, the blessings after a meal. There’s one place where the blessing zeros in on Eliyahu, Elijah the Prophet. It asks that Elijah be sent to us. The description first describes him as bringing ‘besorot tovot’ good news, and only then ‘yeshuot venechamot’ redemption and consolation.

I think there is a psychological principle at play here. Only when you lead with good news, can the consolation and redemptive action have full effect.

There’s a lot to unpack in thinking about this. But I am motivated to look for positive opportunities and outcomes, even when the origin or context comes from experiences that are as terrible as October 7th.

That’s how we heal.