Harry’s Homilies: TLC for Valentine’s Day

Monday, February 13th, 2012


My kid brother, Harry, is an ophthalmologist who used to sing to his patients when he did surgery. He and his colleagues were dubbed “The Singing Surgeons.” It’s part of his TLC (tender loving care) to his patients. Also, his homilies* (actually aphorisms** but he liked the alliteration of Harry’s Homilies, so he took a little poetic license), which he made into a book, are a lovely nod to his elderly patients that he cared for. Here are just a few that I asked him to send from his book related to food & health.

*Homily – A homily is a commentary that follows a reading of scripture.
**Aphorism- An aphorism is an original thought, spoken or written in a concise and memorable form.
Source: Wikipedia

Harry is also an avid photographer. Being an eye doctor, that makes complete sense to me, that is, focusing on visual surroundings.  The pictures between the homilies are from his many travels all over the world with his wife Karen.


Sometimes, someone provides
so much food for thought,
that it feels as though
I have overeaten.

As a teacher, it is sometimes difficult to know how much to teach at one sitting. I often have a single day to teach medical students or residents all that I know about ophthalmic diseases. Trying to compress 25 years into 60 minutes is a daunting task. And try it after an on-call night when their eyes (and ears) are half-closed!

Teaching is not so different from doctor-patient interaction: knowing when to be quiet and when to talk; knowing when to say something funny or serious; understanding when silence will do.  Knowing when to stop.

Life is like a fruitcake:
It is filled with all kinds
of fruits and nuts
and morsels sweet and bitter.
Still, a slice of it is
pretty good.

There are good days and bad days, happy days and sad days. The important thing to remember is that there are days. Wake up with a smile – happy to be ready for another adventure: Today!

Even if life is
a
“bowl of cherries,”
you still have to spit out the pits!

I have often expressed my joy at being alive (sometimes to the dismay of those around me). For most of us, life is a joy. We have the pleasure of a good job, good health and loving families. I have been accused of being a Pollyanna, because there is so much in the world that is not like this view of life. But I think that if one weighs in the balance the good and bad of life, there are more sweet moments than sad ones, and definitely more cherry than pit!

For humans,
aging is less like wine
and more like bread.

I have often marveled at the elderly people I see. They are so vibrant at 65, still active at 75, and for most, finally old at 85 and more. This is not to say that they are not “good” at that age, just “old.” Like aging bread, aging humans get a bit dried out and maybe even a bit moldy. But some old bread makes excellent bread pudding! So even though those advancing years may not be “golden,” they are still worth looking forward to.


Love
is like sweet wine:
it is to be enjoyed,
not analyzed.

I have good friends who like to demonstrate their powers at identifying a good wine.  You know them: “This was a very good year for the White Chablis… ” Now Manischewitz red rarely calls forth any superlatives, but it is sweet and to some of us it is really good! So it is with love. It isn’t seasonal or identifiable by vineyard or vintner. No sir! It’s real Manischewitz love; it is simply sweet and always the same. Try some this season. Don’t analyze why your love is so pleasurable, just drink up and enjoy!


a recipe for happiness

½ cup tolerance
½ cup optimism
mix well
add one tablespoon self-assurance and
a pinch of self-doubt*
mix again with equal part good luck
add
sweet memories to your own taste and
a pinch of sadness**
mix again and serve immediately.

Note: make up fresh each day;
unused leftovers tend to
grow bitter very quickly.

*   doubt adds spice to each decision
** a little sadness enhances sweet memories

If you want a copy of this book, go to www.harryshomilies.com. It makes a lovely gift for Valentine’s Day or any day!


P.S. I especially love the recipe for happiness & Harry’s simple definition of love.


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