This week I did what most Americans do during the holiday season….I went shopping. I think I am the stereotypical male in that I really don’t like shopping, but I do it to try and find gifts for the people I love. I remember when I lived in Rome in the 1970’s seeing how the Italians celebrated the holidays. It was much less about gifts and more about gatherings and joyous meals together.
Tuesday I went on our Lean Daily Management walk and realized how wonderful our staff is and how not just on Christmas Eve, but every day, they give so much to our patients and their families. It’s like most of them have the spirit of giving all year round. After rounds, I had three patients and families I wanted to see. One was a phenomenal volunteer who gives so much to GBMC. One was quite an accomplished gentleman who I did not know personally, but I knew of him, and was asked to visit him by a mutual friend. The third patient was a woman who had just delivered her first baby and her husband. They were so glad to have this new, wonderful gift in their lives. Making all three visits really got me thinking about what the season is all about, so I gathered my things and went home to be with my family.
I am writing this next to our Christmas tree listening to holiday music and looking at the ornaments that we have collected over the past 30 years. My favorite ornament sits atop our tree. It’s a paper angel that my son Mike made in Kindergarten and it has a photo of Mike’s face at age five glued on the body of the angel. It reminds me of how lucky I am. I wish that everyone in the world could stop during this season and reflect on what is really important.
I wish everyone a peaceful and joyous holiday season and for those who celebrate it – Merry Christmas!