Probably the best thing about this holiday, in my mind, is that it gives us all the opportunity to be grateful. As a friend of mine recently pointed out, when you spend your time being grateful, you don't have a lot of room in your life for stuff like anger, or fear, or jealousy. It's hard to be grateful and angry simultaneously. Try it. See? Weird, it just can't happen. So I'm feeling really grateful today, as I sit and type this beside a wood stove cranking out the heat and eating a clementine. I'm grateful for the warmth of the stove. The children upstairs still sleeping. The deliciously healthful food made possible by a civilization which, for all of its many faults, gives me the capability to eat an orange in the middle of a cold New England winter. And I'm very grateful to the patient who brought me the fruit.
It is always somewhat surprising to me, when holiday season comes around, and patients bring such wonderful gifts to share with Teresa and me. Diets be damned, they say, and bake with abandon, creating the most delicious concoctions enticing me to keep my energy up with a quick midday sugar fix. Or two. Or three. (Hmm. I'm pretty sure I'll be doing the Center's New Decade - New Me weight loss program in lead-by-example format!). I am touched by these gifts, as I know that they signify my importance in their lives. And when I realize that, I am immediately humbled and awed by the trust which my patients place in me.
There were two gifts this year which particularly moved me.
One of my patients, whom I know is no stranger to philanthropy, took her largesse to an entirely new level this year. In honor of me, she said, she gave the gift of a cataract operation (through Seva, a charity devoted to restoring sight and preventing blindness in the developing world) so that another person might see again. When she told me, it brought tears to my eyes. To be the inspiration for such magnaminity is overwhelming. Thank you, Joan.
Another gift came in the form of an email from a grateful patient whose holiday was brightened by a new addition to the family -- whose presence, she said, was the result of the care which I provided. I was deeply moved by her thanks as well, and reminded of the joy I experienced many years ago when my first child arrived.
So has it been a good Christmas? You bet! New eyes, new life, tasty treats and fruits and honey. My cup runneth over.
I hope your Christmas has been equally joyful.