As I write this, COVID-19 cases in our area are soaring; as you read this, they will undoubtedly have reached record-setting peaks. Vaccines loom on the horizon, but approval, rollout and distribution are still challenges which remain to be overcome.
In this cocktail called December 2020, we have equal parts terror and hope, dread and resolve, resignation and revelation. Add a sugar cube of faith and the bitters of loss, and muddle together.
Allow me to suggest a garnish which might make this cocktail slightly more palatable: gratitude.
Let us be grateful for our lives and the lives of our loved ones and friends.
Let us be grateful for the joy and good that existed in the lives of those we have lost this year.
Let us be grateful for our good memories.
Let us be grateful for the roof over our heads, food on the table, and warm clothes to wear.
Let us be grateful for the ability to share our comforts with others less fortunate – and do so.
Let us be grateful for our medical education and training, by which we can help our fellow man.
Let us be grateful that our calling – though it tethers us to pain, illness and death – gives us insights denied to others and allows us to keenly appreciate what is truly important in life.
Let us be grateful for the wisdom we have crystallized from our traumas.
Let us be grateful for the wisdom of our mentors, the comradery of our colleagues and the support of our families.
Let us be grateful – and humbled – by the trust of our patients.
Let us be grateful for every person – scientist, physician, nurse, health care worker, EMT, janitor, administrator, essential service worker and all others – who by their work and dedication keep our nation afloat in the face of daily challenges.
Let us be grateful for every business that chooses humanity over profit at this time, and let us actively support small businesses and people in need that they may survive.
Let us be grateful for every person who believes in the idea of a civil, decent and kind society and behaves accordingly.
Let us be grateful for every person who wears a mask properly, who puts the safety and well-being of his fellow humans ahead of his own self-interest, and who truly loves his neighbor as himself.
Let us be grateful for the chance to believe in a higher power and a greater good.
Let us be grateful for the unselfish.
Let us be grateful for hope.