This is the only Thanksgiving holiday in my memory that I was not on call for hospital work. Physicians, like many other folks, are not automatically off on holidays and weekends. I’m not complaining here, but there are times that I am envious of individuals who are home on every weekend and holiday. Americans need health care, law enforcement, and various emergency services even on days of national leisure. When I am driving to the hospital on one of those days, I remind myself that the sick person I am headed to see has a much worse deal than I have.
I have been bestowed with many blessings, and I am grateful for all of them. Some of them, I may have earned, while others just fell my way. Similarly, life’s travails can result from a bad decision or just bad luck. Life isn’t fair.
I admire folks who always spy a rainbow through a storm, and I want to be like them. Appreciating one’s lot in life, especially a midst dark days, brings much light into the world. It becomes a contagion for good. The opposite approach becomes a powerful force spreading discontent and unhappiness and has a wide ripple effect. We've all seen this. There’s a reason that most of us enjoying spending time with folks who exude sunlight. We don’t all have to be supernovas that can enlighten the universe, but we can try to spew off enough photons to bring some light into the world.
Last week, my family converged in New York City to surprise my mother for a milestone birthday. She was in the presence of the most important people in the world to her. A week later, I am still in the rarefied aura of this unforgettable event. I am so thankful for this incredible blessing.
Let's seek out light and spread some of our own.
President Lincoln's 1863 Thanksgiving Day Proclamation opens with the following sentence.
The year that is drawing towards its close, has been filled with the blessing of fruitful fields and healthful skies.
Remembering what his world was like in 1863, we can agree that this man could see light during the darkest days we ever had. Our gratitude endures.