November 23, 2011
Reflections on Gratitude
For each new morning with its light, For rest and shelter of the night, For health and food, For love and friends, For everything Thy goodness sends
Thanksgiving By Ralph Waldo Emerson
It’s been a difficult year for many of my patients. Some have had catastrophic health challenges. Many businesses are still struggling. Some marriages are fraying. Many of us are very unsure of what comes next.
When things look irredeemably hopeless, when I have nothing but bad news to give, when I really wish someone else was the doctor for one day, that’s when I am reminded what an extraordinary job I have. I am privileged to be a part of people’s lives at their scariest, most personal, darkest times. I hear their anxieties, their confessions, and their secrets. I do my best to help, and to assemble a team of specialists to do the many things I can’t do. But ultimately all help fails.
And the one thing my patients teach me again and again when things are at their worst is gratitude. I hear about the love of family, the comfort of happy memories, the joy of looking back without regrets. In the most desperate situations when I would expect panic or grief, I hear gratitude.
Tomorrow is the day to remember all of our abundant blessings. We all have so much to be grateful for. This year I’m especially grateful to my patients for allowing me to make a living doing what I love, and for reminding me constantly of the importance of gratitude.
As is my annual tradition, I hereby lift all my patients’ dietary restrictions for one day. I wish you happy feasting in homes filled with cheer and joy! Happy Thanksgiving!
Important legal mumbo jumbo: