Be the aspirin to your family and friends…

March 9, 2020

“Friends seem to be like aspirin; we really don’t know why they make a sick person feel better, but they do.”  (Letty Cottin Pogrebin)

That was the quote that Jack used in a recent post to his blog, Jack’s Winning Words.

To paraphrase a common old doctors’ saying – “Talk to two friends and call me in the morning.”

Why does it help? Perhaps because we are all social animals and being able to share our miseries with someone who can commiserate with us has a “Placebo effect”.  Maybe there is something to the old “healing touch” beliefs that the laying on of hands can help. Some believe in being able to transfer “energy” between people. Whatever you believe, there is certainly something good and helpful about having someone else to share your pain or discomfort with; If nothing else, they may allow you to take your mind off your suffering for a while. Be the aspirin.

I’m sure that scientists could find something to attribute this effect too; perhaps the release of endorphins of some sort.  You really don’t need a scientific explanation of why a visit to a sick friend can help them feel better…just do it. It’s a whole lot more helpful than just sending them a Get Well card. Be the aspirin.

I suspect that, if you thought about it for a moment, you have friends who could use a visit. Perhaps they aren’t “sick” in the sense of having a disease.  Maybe they are just lonely, because they lost a loved one.  Maybe they are a shut-in, unable to drive or visit with anyone anymore. Perhaps they are in recovery from some incident that caused injury. Maybe they are suffering  from depression over a lost job or the end of a relationship. Whatever the reason for their current state of health or mind, they could use a visit right now and you can be their aspirin. Be the aspirin.

In most cases, you really don’t have to “do” anything other than be there to listen and offer encouragement. You roil is to assure them that they are not alone, that someone else cares about them. Now, in our current state of concern about the Corona virus, it may not make sense to endanger yourself by making a personal visit to someone who is infected and in quarantine; however, you can’t catch the disease over the phone and a phone call is a lot more helpful that just sending a card. See if they are able to take your call. Be the aspirin.

Just like in life there are many brands of aspirin, there are many ways to help and show support for those  in need of some help – taking food over to their house, offering to drive their children to things, offering to do their food shopping or to do their laundry. Sometimes all you can do is go sit by a bedside and listen, but that is enough to make a difference. Be the aspirin.

An interesting side-benefit of all this is something that the real aspirin never gets to experience – it will make you feel better, too. Doing something for others, serving others, helping others is an aspirin for your soul. It will help remove aches and pains that you may not have realized were there – those prickly little feelings that keep saying to you,  “I know I should be doing something to help.” Now, you are doing something.  Be the aspirin.