I am thankful for you who care for others on the holiday

Let me be one who thanks you. I may not see you on Thanksgiving; I may not know your name. But know that you are appreciated.

Has this year flown by for you? Maybe it’s because I’m getting older, but this year has come and gone pretty quickly, and now Thanksgiving is upon us. We often talk about gratitude around Thanksgiving; it’s what the name of the holiday implies.

On Nov. 28, many of us will be surrounded by family and friends enjoying a sumptuous feast and then find ourselves gorged and immobile in front of the TV as visions of football games dance in our heads (that is when we’re not napping). If you have the holiday off this year, be thankful and find ways to share that gratitude to family and friends.

However, others of us will be someplace quite different, and it’s you whom I want to address. While there are usually fewer patients  during Thanksgiving week, as people don’t tend to have elective surgery over holidays, there is still a need — health care facilities are still open and staffed. Like you, the patients who are receiving care may be away from their loved ones and don’t have much choice in the matter. They may be lonely or scared or upset. Working on a holiday is often a thankless job.

Let me be one who thanks you. I may not see you on Thanksgiving; I may not know your name. But know that you are appreciated. In the Gospel of Matthew, Jesus describes the judgment at the end of time, and He blessed those who had fed, clothed and cared for Him when He was in need.

When asked when they had done these things, Jesus replied, “Truly I tell you, just as you did to one of the least of these who are members of my family, you did it to me.” (Matthew 25:40, NRSV)

Your care and commitment do not go unnoticed. Those receiving care because they have to may not always tell you, so let me say on their behalf, “Thank you.”

The Rev. Rick Forest, M.Div., C.T., is a chaplain at Norton Children’s Hospital.


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