I’ve done quite a bit of reflecting this past week. Here I stand a week or so from getting a vaccine for something that I didn’t even know existed a year ago and yet has shaped and affected so much of this past year both personally and globally. And yet knowing at the same time that the fight is far from over and it’s going to be a number of ugly months before we can take a collective sigh and start to see this in the rearview mirror. I know the devastation that business owners have faced as I’ve stood in back rooms with friends and listened to their tears and stories and heartbreak and worry. And I get it, people are over all things covid, and really all things 2020. I am too, I mean sure I look pretty sexy dressed up in plastic head to toe to go into a patient room, but the literal hours that I have spent putting on and taking off and decontaminating everything is unmeasurable, and I’ve stayed hours after each shift finishing patient care and charting because of the amount of time that it takes, all of that extra time has been unpaid. And no one likes masks, I get it, wear 2-3 at a time every shift for every patient. And as medical providers we aren’t ones to really share what we see and what we experience, sure there have been news report after news reports but they only scratch the surface. I think we all realize the time we spend with a patient is sacred and their story and their struggles and their issues are their own and they have trusted me, a complete stranger as their ER doctor to open up and share not only their physical ailments but their emotional and spiritual as well. And we treat that trust as such. Sure we may share bits and pieces of stories but more often than not we tuck those away and head into the next room and the next patient. And then there are the battles that we lose and with those we lock eyes with our trusted nurses and the critical care techs and the respiratory therapist and the EMS crew that fought along side of us, we blink the tears away, take a few deep breaths, wash our hands, grab some hospital string cheese from the fridge, and walk into the room of the next waiting patient praying for a better outcome in that battle. And yet I still over hear questions, “well do all those people really need to be in the hospital?”, “It’s not really that big of deal, few people get it and fewer even die,” “I just wish I could get it and get it over with.” And I don’t really say anything. Part of me feels frustrated by those comments and I think and ask myself why have I fought so hard and worked so hard to really have no one care and to just blow everything off. Part of me realizes that if those people came in and saw and experienced what I do and see on a daily basis their perspective would be different, and then they’d second guess themselves like I do on the long drives home late at night and questions whether or not I should have gone back in that room and just held that patient’s hand one more time because he might not see the sunrise again and yet there were 16 other patients waiting and needing to be seen and so I didn’t and now I wonder if he’ll get that hand squeeze from someone before he dies or if he’ll die alone. And then the ugly part of me kind of wishes that the people that say those things would be the ones that get sick, not to the point of dying but sick enough to really understand and I realize that’s the part of me that’s just tired and frustrated and angry at all of it. And I haven’t done everything right through this whole thing, I’ve seen people, but very few and at a distance and as often as possible outside. And so with the expected uptick in cases we’ve had a re-eval our commitments and activities again and pull back out of things. We’ve worn masks through everything but not everyone has. And I’m not sure why or how showing care and concern for others by wearing something simple somehow because a political issue and not just a simple act of love and care for a fellow human being. But as I held my 11 year old the other night as he cried about having to pull out of some things I kind of had to think that if everyone had just done a little months ago we wouldn’t be here now. And yet here we stand in the season of advent, a time to celebrate and reflect on peace, joy, hope and love and the coming of Christ, the one who above all sought to put others before Himself so many chose selfishness and their own desires. And so I’ll go to bed tonight and wake up early tomorrow make the drive in to the battle ground as the sun starts to break through the horizon and continue to fight for each person that comes in. I’ll continue to put my life and the lives of my family in harms way and pray that I can be an example of the peace and joy and hope and love in this current darkness.