There once was a time when I saw my life as never meeting expectations. I wasn't young enough, slim enough, tall enough or smart enough. I didn't have the right car, clothes, house, income, attitude or career. I wasn't raised in the right community, I didn't hang around with the right people, have the right ethnic heritage, nor go to the right school. I was foolish enough to believe this was reality.
'Reality' was, I was a failure, an odd ball, an outcast.
Then one day I felt this gentle nudging. I can't quite pinpoint the event or moment. Was it created in loss or was it realized in a moment of joy? But I began to see through the barriers of the world and there, just beyond them, I discovered "Hope."
Here is what is real in my world today.
The warmth of my wife lying next to me at night giving me a sense of security and reminding me of love.
The sound of my sons' voices confirming that all is well with them and knowing that they are my greatest contribution to the world.
My Border Collie, Dooby, wagging her tail when I come home...she's always happy to see me. Sometimes she's the only one!
The velvet touch of a rose petal between my fingers and the sweet smell it leaves behind reminds me that the finest things present to all my human senses.
The brightness of the sun rise cries out "Celebrate! You are born again into a new day.
As an emergency physician, the gentle touch of a stranger's hand when first we say hello and connect palm to palm. The daily opportunity of fixing someone's medical problem.
Considered a ritual, a formality by some, I find it a moment of connection on a spiritual level.
The sounds of life carried by the wind; the cries of a hawk, the waves crashing on the shore, the chatter of an anxious squirrel, and the bells on a distant ice cream truck carrying with it the sweet cream treats of childhood memories.
The tears I shed for someone's pain.
The smell of fresh cut grass.
The wisdom of someone older [or younger] than I.
The wisdom of an innocent child.
The taste of mashed sweet potatoes and maple syrup (a concoction my wife makes for our older son).
The smell of my wife's fantastic cooking, producing instant flashbacks of family gathered around in celebration of life.
The sound, "You have mail!" on my computer (actually that one's not always so great).
The words, "Thank you!" "My friend" "Love" and "Hope."
The knowledge that, regardless of what other people say, I am who I am and who I want to be. My community truly appreciates me for being an emergency medicine specialist, even if some organizations try to malign me, just because I don't have the same letters after my name as they do. If they experienced the real joy of their work, as I do, then I doubt they would target others in the way they [presently] do. However, I also have great HOPE that they will learn to love and embrace everyone who is providing care for others.
Watching TV commercials about fast cars, designer clothes, being thin, being young, being wealthy and knowing they aren't as important as being happy with who I am...in reality!
[Mildly adapted and modified from Bob Perks, for the life of this ER doc]