It really is a great day to be alive
By Joe Black | (firstname.lastname@example.org)
I get ideas for this space from a lot of different places. Sometimes it is from a casual comment, a jolt in the night, or an idea from a colleague. Often it is from the seat of a church pew.
Early this week, I walked in to a patient’s room and asked (as I most often do) “how ya doin’?” Now when I ask how you are doing, it isn’t just a conversation starter — I really want to know. It’s my job.
Her response was “great” with the dual qualifiers that she was both above ground and able to ... let’s say ... take care of her own personal hygiene. She didn’t put the latter quite that way, but there is no way I’m going to put her exact words in here.
My answer to this most pleasant lady was that although I do get column ideas from odd places, there was no way that this one was going to evolve into a column.
But then I got to thinking about it (actually, got the idea in the middle of the night, got up, and wrote it down) and decided that it actually represented a pretty darn good philosophy.
Often, we choose our mood. I have seen people in dire circumstances, when life really seems to be beating them down, choose to smile and be happy.
I have seen others whose personal maladies are really not all that bad, but you would think that they were carrying the weight of the world around on their shoulders. They complain about everything.
The old parable of the man with no shoes tells it well. It goes something like this: “I cursed my fate because I had no shoes, and then I met a man who had no feet.”
It used to be popular to tell a kid that wouldn’t eat to “think of all the starving kids in Africa.” Well, sure, there is unfathomable starvation in Africa, particularly in the sub-Saharan desert regions, but there is also starvation much closer to home.
Head to Haiti. Those that have visited and returned tell of deplorable conditions. We don’t like to think about it, but there is hunger here, in Blount County, Tennessee.
Visit the Welcome Table programs at New Providence and 1st Methodist-Maryville, and you will find people hungry, some for food, others for human contact.
Yes we have homelessness here but it is largely invisible. I’ve written about it before.
More common than that is a family that might have food on the table but can’t afford health insurance so they ignore health problems. And so then their health declines and that leads to all sorts of problems. A major health issue would devastate their fragile finances and send them into an inescapable level of poverty.
Thanksgiving is just around the corner, but let’s all begin now being thankful for what we have. Mostly healthy? You have friends and family? Food to eat? A roof over your head?
Choose happiness. It’s all up to you.
Joe Black, PT, DPT, SCS, ATC is a physical therapist and athletic trainer at Total Rehabilitation and is Manager of Outpatient Rehabilitation for Blount Memorial Hospital. Write to him at (email@example.com)