Voices of compassion.

February 27, 2016

During a political season laden with polarized vitriol and hateful rhetoric, ‘voices of compassion’ is a reminder of the human heart and the kind thoughts and gestures that bring light to the shadows in life.

Two stories: One of harbored guilt and responsibility for a tragic event in our nation’s history; the other from a man who continues to immerse himself in the studies of addiction to help those caught in a system without support, or care.



“That was one of the mistakes God made,” Bob Ebeling, now 89, told me three weeks ago at his home in Brigham City, Utah. “He shouldn’t have picked me for that job. But next time I talk to him, I’m gonna ask him, ‘Why me? You picked a loser.’ ”

Jim Sides listened to the NPR story in his car in Jacksonville, N.C.

“When I heard he carried a burden of guilt for 30 years, it broke my heart,” Sides, an engineer, says. “And I just sat there in the car in the parking lot and cried.”

Other’s listened to this story as well, were touched deeply, and reached out to Bob to offer kindness and encouragement. Here’s a link to their story from All Things Considered.

‘It’s a tough sell on two sides. No. 1, it’s a tough sell for people who suffer from addiction. It’s tough to hear, “I’m sorry, we don’t have a cure. You can’t get detoxed, go away for 30 days, get your head straight and not be affected.” Same is true for diabetes. There is no place that I know of that gives you 30 days of insulin treatment and a hearty handshake and sends you off to a church basement. It just won’t work, so that’s tough.’

For researcher A. Thomas McLellan, who has spent his entire career studying substance abuse, the shift is a welcome one, though it has come frustratingly late.

McLellan is co-founder of the Treatment Research Institute in Philadelphia and former deputy director of the White House Office of National Drug Control Policy. His work has focused on understanding addiction as a disease and improving the ways it is treated, a mission that took a personal turn midway through his career when he lost a son to overdose.’


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