Wednesday, November 21, 2007

A Time for Reflection and Gratitude

Carrie Ermshar, the President of the Tennesee Association of Homes and Services for the Aging graciously allowed me to share her Thanksgiving message with you today. After reading Carrie's message this morning I realized that I could not have said it one bit better, and so in a spirit of true thanksgiving I am honored to share this with you:

The Thanksgiving season has an uncanny way of always sneaking up on us. As we enter into the holiday season, I am inspired to remind us of the significance of our works and spirit.

Call me a traditionalist, but I am one of those souls who refuse to put out a Christmas decoration until Thanksgiving has passed. The reason being, there is a certain peace from taking this time to reflect with gratitude the blessings life has given, but also realize what opportunities lie ahead. Many of these thanks revolve around the work we do every day. The work of improving aging services for those that walked before us. I challenge us each to ask ourselves not what are we thankful, but why are we thankful?

Perhaps it could be that not only are we thankful for the residents that we serve every day, but we are thankful for the joy they bring as they reflect on their lessons of life. Or, perhaps it is the reminder of the power of human touch when we simply give a hand for them to hold. Or, better yet, it could be the complete sense of fulfillment we experience when we see our children interacting with our elders, and together they have laughter and smiles from a simple experience together.

It is also our workforce who provide the inner strength to do life's hardest work. Instead of simply being thankful for them, let us reflect on what they bring us to provide that gratefulness. The stamina it must take for them to do their work day in and day out. The sense of legacy they must possess to continue to care for our most frail while passing stories to future generations. The struggle they must face every day to maintain their own life and family on minimum wages, while continually persevering with a zest for life many have lost. Yes, the workforce we are privileged to work with exemplify the spirit and pride our forefathers gave us so many years ago.

And, then, let us not forget the work that as leaders in this field we are challenged to provide. Personally, I need to thank you for the leadership and inspiration you provide for us to continue to make a difference for our futures. The land of opportunity is ripe for success. The past years have been filled with perseverance on the message to provide options and dollars for the precious care we provide. We are seeing doors open to this message. For that we are thankful. We will carry that opportunity to continue impact for those that come before us. What a privilege we have been given!

Take this time of year to reflect, be still, find inspiration to move forward; and yes, be thankful. We are blessed to be called to serve our field. We are blessed to share a laugh, a tear, a successful message of change. Let us join together in continuing to make a difference.

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