Monday, January 22, 2007

Hakaras Hatov (Appreciation)

Without going into too many extraneous details, I want to briefly blog about something more for my sake than for my readers'. I think that when something makes a strong impression on us, we need to act on it in some way, or at least write it down, before the moment passes, and with it, the accompanying thoughts and feelings.

I remember doing this growing up when it was my birthday. Having a summer birthday sometimes made me feel like the day came and went and was just another hot, sticky, long July day. The thought that tomorrow would be another, nearly identical day, with nothing much to distinguish it from my Big Day, made me kind of pensive.

I kept a notebook where, among other things, I would start a fresh page for each birthday I remembered to do it, and would write something to the (teenagerish) effect of:

I'm 14 today. Happy 14th Birthday to me! Some of the things I'm thinking about this birthday are . . . Some things I hope to have done by my 15th birthday are . . .

just in an attempt to capture something tangible. Time has a very fleeting and sad quality to it. Well. This is turning into a Very Intense Blog Post for me. Sorry.

A case in point for withered inspiration is the way that nearly a month ago I visited one of the local firehouses with Ann's class.

I came home full of resolve to mail a thank you card with a picture to the firefighters, and possibly donate a small amount to whatever their equivalent of a benevolent fund is. Well, of course, I have yet to do it. Not that it's too late. But these things are better when they're done "fresh" in my opinion.

Anyhow, let me get back to the main subject of this post.

Today I had to take both of my kids to a relatively routine follow-up appointment related to a specialist they see. At the start of this calendar year, we switched to a new health insurance provider, and part of the fun is that the specialist's office does not do the procedure in-house with our current insurance.

Instead, I have to take the kids to the hospital to have it done there, and bring/have sent the resulting films and reports to the specialist appointment.

I'm sure it's trite, but today was my mega-dose of hakaras hatov. I've been to this hospital before, and my reaction is the same each time. There is nothing, NOTHING, like going to a childen's hospital to make you realize that all of the worrying, the shlepping, the complaining, the stress that you have in your life is so blessedly minute compared to the thoughts, fears, and concerns of families of kids who are Really Sick.

The walk through the corridors of this institution is so somber and humbling as one scans the various names of the departments, unimaginable to a parent regarding their own child, until, for some, they suddenly are not only imaginable, but horrifyingly real.

It takes a lot of composure for me just to walk the halls, and I know that that's nothing compared to the composure and resolve of the very brave doctors and braver patients.

Thanks, Hashem. That's it.


Jack's Shack said...

I have a dear friend who works as a Peds doc in a children's hospital. The stories that he sometimes shares rip your heart to shreds.

But as you pointed out, they also make you quite thankful.

socialworker/frustrated mom said...


kasamba said...

So true.
Boruch Hashem!

SJ said...

It's times like these that you realize what is truly important and how truly blessed we my opinion, hakaras hatov is one of the most important midot--as well as a key to happiness and satisfaction in life.

It's always good to have a wake-up call. Nice post.

Ezzie said...

Oh, I didn't know what to say for this post, but it was beautiful.

Ariella said...

You're right. Just being an hospital setting can be disquieting.

Hila said...

Awesome as always. :-)

RaggedyMom said...

Thanks everyone - I'm glad that so many of you echo my thoughts.
We (and our kids) should all be well.