This Thanksgiving, my son swallowed a penny 🤦.
My daughter got our attention and, after a couple of nerve-wracking responses from his little body, I called the insurance help-line to speak with a doctor. The customer service agent apologized for the wait. She took our information and scheduled a callback. When the help-desk doctor called back she kindly gave us the recommendation to take him in.
My mom volunteered to stay with our daughter, and, when we arrived at the hospital, the receptionist checked us in while eating lunch at her desk, because she didn’t have the luxury of a lunch break that day. The nurse overheard our story and apologized for our having to go through such a scare on the holiday while she took his vitals.
We suited up and held our son still with the help of our x-ray technician and, after reviewing the scan, the doctor called the emergency room for us, to see what they would do if we brought him in. This saved us a trip, because they advised that with that particular positioning, it would be best to just wait it out.
He let us know what symptoms to watch for, and recommended we pick up some laxatives on the way home. A sweet couple held the door for us as we left.
I quickly found what I needed in the store and the bagger at the neighboring checkout stand wished me a Happy Thanksgiving, which I heartily returned.
And that is how, over the course of just a few hours, more than 10 people improved a difficult situation by being willing to show up and show compassion, even if they didn’t get the holiday off.
Who are the 10+ people making a difference in your story today?
Looking back over 2019 has left me in awe in much the same way. Many remarkable people have changed my life for the better this year, and not just the obvious ones.
Which led me to wonder, how many of us go through life without noticing the small acts of kindness performed by the people in our own stories, however big or small their parts? Your neighbor, your parents, your friends… How about your waiter? Your colleague? Your mechanic? Your child’s teacher?
…Have you thanked them?
What Gratitude Can Do For You
Being aware of and expressing gratitude for these individuals means recognizing that none of us makes it through this life alone — a humble admission which leads to feelings of enoughness, rather than scarcity; of agency, rather than blame; of security, rather than fear; and of peace, rather than anxiety.
And it isn’t always cut and dry. Sometimes people let you down. You want to be able to do it alone. When you trust, and that trust is broken, you harden your shell, and steel yourself against the silent servers in your life.
But while they choose joy, you remain under the illusion that your negative feelings “protect” you, and you lose something incredibly precious.
Viktor Frankl said:
Everything can be taken from a man but one thing: the last of human freedoms – to choose one’s attitude in any given set of circumstances, to choose one’s own way.
If you know his story, you will agree with me that such an attitude is no easy feat.
Yet the freedom to choose — to act or to be acted upon — is well worth the effort.
Simple Ways to Say “Thank You”
Once you identify those people who are making a difference in your story, and you know you don’t want to go through life alone, it’s time to say “Thank You”.
Here are a few ideas to get you started:
From Me to You
And, while I’m at it, can I just say — these last few weeks I learned how big of a piece of me my interactions with you are. Because I missed you!
You encourage. You talk about hard things. You share your hearts and your faith. And you listen when I do the same.
Insufficient as the words might be for the feeling in my heart.
Here’s to choosing joy!