Do you ever have those full on hissy-fit moments when something (usually someone) has gone off the rails, failed to do their job, or just altogether forgotten something you think is really important, and this causes YOU to let someone (or a few someones) down? Nothing bothers me more in my work than failing to keep a promise. I want to keep my word, and when I tell you I will do something I want you to know you can count on me. And I expect other people to hold to their end of a bargain, and to see it just as importantly as I do. But … sometimes they don’t do what they promise. And when I have to let someone down because of it, I get very upset and lose sleep.
But yesterday I drove by a hospital and the world elbowed me in the ribs with a little perspective. Did this let-down affect their health? Did it affect their family? Did it damage their well-being? Did it affect their ability to make a living? Will it affect their future? The answer to all of these questions is a resounding “absolutely not.” Because I am not a doctor … and the person I let down is not a patient.
And even asking these questions (with regard to something like my situation) helps me to realize how ridiculous it is to get so upset. When it comes right down to it, the person I let down will probably forget about it five seconds after I tell them. Or they may be a little annoyed for a few minutes. Either way, everything is going to be OK. And I realized how truly lucky I am that these are the problems that I find myself dealing with.
I also saw how obnoxious and self-important I was to think that I had something to be upset about. All of the people in my scenario have a roof over their heads. We all have our families. We all have jobs. And we will all wake up in the morning able to carry on with our lives despite this tiny (pathetic, really) speed bump. We didn’t negatively affect someone’s life because of this. And we don’t have to tell anyone’s family that the outlook isn’t good. We don’t have to fear that a misstep could take a life. And we don’t have to worry that missed sleep means that we could hurt someone. None of us (in my scenario) has the absolutely HUGE responsibility of a doctor. Or the emotional roller coaster of a patient and their family.
Don’t get me wrong, keeping my word will remain very important to me. But I am so thankful for some perspective about what that means. Everyone at that hospital is in my thoughts and prayers. Especially the doctors … who really have the weight of the world on their shoulders. And especially the patients and their families, who have so much real worry. Thank you for all that you do. Thank you for soldiering through the really difficult things in life.
Thank you for the reality check. I’m so sorry to have needed it. I hope the little treat I left for one of you brightens your day just a little.