I worked in the ED last night and woke up a little while ago. I get to go back to work tomorrow morning. But today I get to spend relaxing with my family, watching a good movie by the fire, drinking cider, and eating turkey.
In our home, we try to use Thanksgiving as a time to reflect upon the things in our lives for which we are thankful. We make all the kids write down a few things that they are thankful for and we talk about them at the dinner table before eating. The younger kids are always thankful for their personal possessions and their family. I try to expand upon specific ways that I’m thankful for our family in order to get everyone to think about what it means to be a family. I tell them how thankful I am that they are growing up to be such amazing young adults. I love to see how they develop empathy and help other people and animals. I love to see their good grades and hear from their teachers how they wish they had a class full of kids just like mine.
This year we decided to do something special to help other families. We’re driving to one of the areas damaged by the tornadoes a couple of weeks ago and are bringing as many donations and supplies as will fit in our trucks to help some friends whose homes were destroyed and damaged.
I also decided to get a bunch of inexpensive MP3 players, load them up with old radio broadcasts from radiolovers.com and give them to some of the elderly patients in the hospital after my shift tomorrow. May not be the latest iPad, but hopefully it will make some people smile.
I looked through my other Thanksgiving posts from throughout the years and was going to link to them, but many were taken offline with my old blog. I dug up my first, and favorite, reflection on Thanksgiving and have posted it below.
Enjoy the time with your friends and families … and have a safe and happy holiday!
Oh, and just like it wouldn’t be a real Christmas without thinking about the Red Ryder BB gun, it wouldn’t be a real Thanksgiving without being able to view the “greatest turkey event in Thanksgiving day history” courtesy of WKRP in Cincinnati.
Initially posted November 23, 2007
There are many things I have to be thankful about this year. Since my family is away visiting relatives while I stay home to work in the ED, we can’t go around the table and tell each other what we are thankful for, so I’ll post my thanks this year for the world to see.
I am thankful for my family. Twenty years ago in my wilder years I probably would have laughed at someone who said that. It was all about me back then. But now the smile from my child’s face and a kiss on the cheek can instantly erase a whole day’s worth of frustration at work. Sometimes I lay awake at night in bed just watching my wife sleep and thinking how lucky I am to have her with me. Even as I sit here typing this alone, I know that I am not alone.
I can’t imagine the torment that families go through being away from their loved ones who are serving our country overseas. I pray for the fast and safe return of each and every one of our brothers, sisters, mothers, fathers, sons, daughters, and those who have no family who are sleeping in sweltering tents with sand in every orifice and dedicating their lives to protecting those of us who are sitting in our warm houses and sleeping in our warm beds.
I am thankful for the health of my family. Several people in our family have medical problems. But when I begin to lament how bad we have it, I think about all the people I see every day who have it worse. To everyone who tells me how miserable it must be to have a chronic disease, I tell them that if this is the worst thing my family has to deal with in our lives, we are fortunate. While we are laughing with each other over the dinner table and watching football on television, somewhere someone is suffering a heart attack, someone is in a lonely hospital room on a ventilator waiting to die, and someone will soon be involved in some type of life-altering accident. Each one of “us” is but a blocked artery or a blown tire away from becoming one of “them.”
I am thankful for the gifts that I have been given. I was given a gift that allows me to heal suffering in other people. That gift is truly amazing. Maybe it is something small by most people’s standards, but being able to turn a scared child into a smiling child with a lollipop sticking out of his mouth is so very rewarding. The card from family members I have never met thanking me for taking care of “mom” lets me know that I am doing something right. And the one-armed hug I got after reducing an injured patient’s shoulder dislocation makes me well up with pride. Everyone likes to complain about the bad moments in their job (myself included), but I live for the good moments. Even the “small” ones.
While Thanksgiving dinner for me tonight will be leftover Chinese food and a glass of wine, I’m thankful for that as well. I don’t need all the pomp and circumstance. Some people may be lucky enough to have a special turkey dinner with all the fixins courtesy of a charitable organization tonight but will begin having hunger pangs in a couple of days when they once again have no food. While we smile at that which we take for granted, others suffer in misfortune.
Do not forget that this holiday is called ThanksGIVING.
Amidst all your thanks, give to someone else less fortunate than you. Call someone who is lonely. Bring dinner and a card to someone in the hospital. Send cards and “care packages” to our soldiers overseas to let them know we are thinking about them. Pick up a “letter to Santa” at the post office and give a special gift to someone less fortunate than you. That gift which you consider “small” might be considered very big by someone else.
So, my family, even though you are far away, you are close in my heart. I miss you and love you.
My wishes for a safe and happy Thanksgiving holiday to everyone else and their families as well. I hope that each one of you is even more fortunate than I.
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