Measure of a Person LIes not in Feelings But in Actions

The Measure of a Person Lies not in Feelings but in Actions

Rabbi Kushner, author of “When Bad Things Happen to Good People,” tells the story of a young couple who asked him to officiate at their marriage. They requested that he change the words of the wedding ceremony from “until death do us part” to “as long as our love shall last.” When the Rabbi asked them why they wanted the change, the couple explained, “We would not want to stay together if we no longer loved one another.” Shucks! Isn’t that beautiful? No it’s not.

Kushner, to his credit, turned down their request. He told them that yes he understood that many marriages end in divorce but there is something more important at stake than how they may “feel” about one another in 20 years. “Love, real love,” said the Rabbi, “calls for commitment to one another.” Commitment trumps feelings anytime just as real love goes way beyond infatuation.

Feelings, it seems to me, have taken center stage in today’s culture. For some, feelings have become the sole arbiter of what is right or wrong. If something feels right, it is right.
Not in my book. What makes us truly moral human beings is not how we feel towards one another but how we act.

I recall a woman in a support group I facilitated for caregivers of people living with Alzheimer’s disease. Her 90-year-old Mom, while in the final stages of her dementia, had just staged another miraculous recovery from a heart attack. “I was afraid Mom was going to die,” said her daughter. “At the same time,” she admitted, “I was afraid she wouldn’t.” She looked at the rest of the group for our reaction, perhaps a little embarrassed at the implications of what she had said. She needn’t have been ashamed. Everyone in the group could relate to what she was experiencing. No one knows mixed feelings better than caregivers for people with Alzheimer’s.

What was far more important was that she was hanging in there. She continued to stand by her Mom despite her mixed feelings. It’s been said that half the battle in life is simply showing up. This daughter may have felt like walking but she continued to show up for her mom.

Rabbi Kushner was making the same point to the young couple on the verge of marriage. Commitment trumps feelings anytime.

The Measure of a Person Lies not in Feelings but in Actions

Rabbi Kushner, author of “When Bad Things Happen to Good People,” tells the story of a young couple who asked him to officiate at their marriage. They requested that he change the words of the wedding ceremony from “until death do us part” to “as long as our love shall last.” When the Rabbi asked them why they wanted the change, the couple explained, “We would not want to stay together if we no longer loved one another.” Shucks! Isn’t that beautiful? No it’s not.

Kushner, to his credit, turned down their request. He told them that yes he understood that many marriages end in divorce but there is something more important at stake than how they may “feel” about one another in 20 years. “Love, real love,” said the Rabbi, “calls for commitment to one another.” Commitment trumps feelings anytime just as real love goes way beyond infatuation.

Feelings, it seems to me, have taken center stage in today’s culture. For some, feelings have become the sole arbiter of what is right or wrong. If something feels right, it is right.
Not in my book. What makes us truly moral human beings is not how we feel towards one another but how we act.

I recall a woman in a support group I facilitated for caregivers of people living with Alzheimer’s disease. Her 90-year-old Mom, while in the final stages of her dementia, had just staged another miraculous recovery from a heart attack. “I was afraid Mom was going to die,” said her daughter. “At the same time,” she admitted, “I was afraid she wouldn’t.” She looked at the rest of the group for our reaction, perhaps a little embarrassed at the implications of what she had said. She needn’t have been ashamed. Everyone in the group could relate to what she was experiencing. No one knows mixed feelings better than caregivers for people with Alzheimer’s.

What was far more important was that she was hanging in there. She continued to stand by her Mom despite her mixed feelings. It’s been said that half the battle in life is simply showing up. This daughter may have felt like walking but she continued to show up for her mom.

Rabbi Kushner was making the same point to the young couple on the verge of marriage. Commitment trumps feelings anytime.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *