As 2020 comes to a close, we find ourselves in the heart of a complicated holiday season. If you’re like me, you are ready to see 2020 come to a close with an expectation that 2021 has to bring breakthroughs and new hopes. In the middle of hardship, sometimes it is difficult to have an eye for the blessings that are all around us. As I consider the people that I have most admired over this very difficult year, I thought I would take these few lines to praise a group that hasn’t been praised enough: our healthcare professionals.
As COVID has changed so much about our lives, and as the pandemic has been so prevalent for so long in our state, it’s understandable that common people like me might choose to disconnect from everything that has been going on. For our nurses, doctors, hospital workers, nursing home staff, EMTs, and police, there have been long, difficult hours. There have been moments of exposure and many, many uncomfortable tests. There have been countless changes of disposable gowns and hands worn rough by countless applications of hand sanitizer. Since people hospitalized with COVID tend to be sicker than the people who would normally be receiving care, they require a lot more work. And since a positive test in your nursing department can sideline a lot of your staff, many nurses have been working shift-upon-shift for months at a time. Long hours at any job can be stressful. Long and uncertain stretches, in a very contagious setting, must have been like a pressure cooker for those who have embraced the calling to care. While most of us were isolating, there were many first responders whose job it is to head straight toward those who are infected.
If you’ve ever been in the hospital – or spent time with a loved one who was hospitalized – then you know the difference that compassionate care can make. Think this season about the staff that will be working the holidays the rest of us are taking off. I’ll be thinking of those overworked and underpaid souls who have made an enormous difference in the wellbeing of our community. To help one person is an absolute good. To spend a lifetime helping people is awe-striking.
As people in my own faith tradition celebrate Christmas, the time when we believe a savior was born, I am thankful for those who sacrifice for the sake of others’ healing. To the nurses, first responders, nursing home staff, cooks, janitors, social workers, and health care staff in harm’s way everywhere, thank you for all that you do. I hope that you know you make the biggest of differences in our world, and I hope that 2021 is an easier year for you all.