Counselor's Corner


When love is concrete

Fred Cavaiani

This past weekend my wife had a shoulder replacement. She was in the hospital for two days. I was with her much of the time for support. Her consistent sense of humor and compassion for others endeared her to many nurses and medical staff. When a person lies in a hospital bed after surgery there is a state of regression and dependence upon others. Attention to detail becomes so very important. It is easy to notice which doctors and nurses pay close attention to what a patient will need. Some are excellent in responding to the emotional and physical needs of the patient. Others can be very negligent in noticing how compassion for others needs to be expressed in attention to the details of what a patient might need. It is easy to notice how love becomes concrete when you must lay in a hospital bed for two days.

It was refreshing and meaningful to receive messages of care, compassion and prayers from so many people. It seemed like love and prayers were being sent to us from all over the world.
Because I had been a member of the Capuchin-Franciscan Order many years ago and have stayed in contact, so many of my brothers in religious life sent positive messages of compassion and prayer. My wife knows many people and many of her friends responded positively and with much love. I am convinced that her quick recovery was a result of love being expressed so concretely in compassion and prayer.

When love is concrete in action, positive feelings are quickly experienced in the recipient. On one of the evenings my wife was in great pain and her nurse did not check for the cause of the pain. The nurse on the next shift so patiently and lovingly checked everything thoroughly and discovered what was wrong before there was a catastrophe. The relief my wife felt was immediate, both physically and emotionally. It is amazing the positive effects love can have, when it is expressed concretely in physical detail and emotional sensitivity.

When we put love into action by interacting with others, we create an experience in other people that allows that person to feel loved. The smile you send someone else is powerful. The greeting you give another ­person is an act of love. The kind word of affirmation you give someone puts an ­experience of love into their heart and mind. We can fill the world with loving actions. Loving, concrete actions send positive energy into the world.

I will never forget the kind nurse on the evening shift. Her sensitivity to my wife was so genuine and positively professional. Because of her my wife did very well. Because of the positive energy sent to my wife through prayers and positive words, her attitude toward this surgery was open and positive.

When the world is filled with loving actions, good decisions are made. When people speak positively about others, a loving energy goes into the world. When people speak negatively about each other, negative energy then pours out into the world. It helps no one.

Because of the positive energy that surrounded my wife this weekend, a very painful surgery became a positive experience of receiving love from others. This is the greatest gift of healing we can bring to the world. And it simply takes a persistent effort of concrete actions. Very often when painful experiences happen to us, we become more open to giving love to others and to receiving love from others. But when we engage in judgments and criticisms of others, we go in a reverse direction where positive love and energy coming to us from other people is pushed away and minimized. This past weekend was another teaching reminder to be always positive, affirming and loving and put this into concrete actions.


Fred Cavaiani is a licensed marriage counselor and psychologist with a private practice in Troy. He is the founder of Marriage Growth Center, a consultant for the Detroit Medical Center, and conducts numerous programs for groups throughout Southeast Michigan. His column in the Legal News runs every other Tuesday. He can be reached at 248-362-3340. His e-mail address is: and his website is