Hospital Gratitude

Being at the hospital all day will get you thinking about all the good things in your life.

My sister went to the emergency room today at Saint Thomas Hospital because of severe chest pains. She thought she might be having a heart attack, so she did the smart thing and went straight to the hospital. I was with her through a large portion of the day. Fortunately the news was good after a myriad of tests and hours of waiting. She only had a bad case of acid reflux.

The news wasn’t good for some in the surrounding rooms.

Two doors down on a woman and talked loudly and sang gospel songs for an hour and a half. Though she may have entertained all within earshot, it sounded like it was her way to bring her faith to something bad that had just happened.

In the room next to us I heard an older woman weeping loudly. I imagined that she was a woman who had lost a husband that day, and that may not have been far from the truth.

The emergency room staff seemed distant and almost cold. It was certainly a defense mechanism, a fortress of protection against all the sickness and death that surrounded them on a daily basis. I can’t imagine what it would be like to be immersed in emergency room life every day, so I don’t blame them.

But as for me, I think I probably insulate myself a little too much against the harsh realities of this world by becoming obsessed with concerns that ultimately don’t matter that much. After being in close proximity with significant pain, I walked out of that hospital thinking of the stories from the rooms around us, forgetting for a moment about our car trouble, the mystery leak in our house, and the neighbor’s dog who barks incessantly.

I think it was good for me to be there today. It may sound cliche, but it jolted me back into a place of gratitude. I have so much: an amazing wife and son, a few good friends, a church we love, meaningful work, enough money…

I’m rich in so many ways.

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