6-3-2020: Five Reasons to Be Hopeful This Wednesday
June 3, 2020
My paternal grandfather told me something toward the end of his life that I will never forget. I believe I was actually in medical school already and home for a brief visit. By then he was already older and weaker, and had suffered one or two strokes. He was intermittently lucid but even for a beginning medical student I knew that he had dementia. But during one of those early morning visits when he was lucid he told me that he had returned to his home village at some point in the Southeast Asian country he had left unwillingly because of political ubheaval. At this point he was no longer a strong man in his mid 40s but likely in his late 60s. He said someone from the village offered him something that was morally repugnant for money. He had returned to the village to give help build a school. And he told me, his oldest granddaughter, with fierce convinction, “Until the day you die, you do not know if you have lived a good life.”
My paternal grandfather was not an easy man. He was not the type of grandfather I often see in clinic, physically demonstrative and emotionally available. But his moral conviction was absolute. Some of what he would tell me I disregarded as they were antiquated views. But that conversation with him, I will never forget. Now even in my 40s and having worked hard to try to live a moral life and to apply that in my professional life, I am always reminded that there is temptation at every step. That is probably why I still lurk around the Early Retirement blogs and am somewhat irritated when I read those blogs. For me Early Retirement has been my temptation, but is it really the moral thing for me to do? Society, my parents, my community, my patients, and my family (including my children), have invested in me.
So I continue on and resist temptation to opt out of the workforce including middle management work. Yesterday I spent a time finishing projects for work that were mentally exhausting but important. But picking up litter has been so wonderful because it has reminded me how good it feels to do something good, just because. Eventhough I reached 200 bags yesterday, I am encouraged to reach 500. It may take several years, but it is truly the journey and the heart behind those actions that count. And if some people see me pick up a piece of litter wielding my metal grabber with joy, and they take a second thought to buying a piece of plastic or perhaps pick up a piece themselves – then I am happy.
There are so many reasons to be hopeful this Wednedsay. It is the hump day, and if we can get it through the morning session than the weekend is that much closer. Today I wanted to list Five People That Are My Moral Beacons and they are my Five Reasons to be Hopeful.
List of Five People I Admire Morally
- My Grandfather: He was a tough man. He was not a gentle person. He was far from perfect. But his moral compass always pointed to the true north. If ever I was tempted to do anything bad, I would undoubtably see his ancestral spirit descend upon me in a fury. He was the most disciplined, hardest working person that I know.
- My Father: The reasons are too raw and personal to share. Unconditional love. Unconditional support. No one can measure up to my father, not even Mr. Plastic Picker.
- My Maternal Grandmother: I never met her except via phone. She died when I was sixteen. It was one of the few times I have seen my mother cry. But the stories my mother tells me about this simple woman who loved so fiercely, remind me how powerful a loving mother can be.
- My Own Mother: My own mother I know well. With a true relationship, that admiration is more nuanced and complex.
- My Younger Sister: I wonder if she will read this? I love her so much. She is an attorney and a military spouse, and one of the most giving and creative people I know. I remember when she called and told me she won a Rotary Fellowship to study in Australia. I could not have been more proud. I bought the house next to her in Virginia and plan to retire next to her! LOL But she is one of the people I most admire in life https://drplasticpicker.com/5-27-2020-five-reasons-to-be-hopeful-this-wednesday-real-estate/.
I never know how these Hopeful Wednesday posts will turn out. But in this time of upheaval and uncertainty, I think looking inward into those that are our moral beacons within our own families can be comforting. I wrote yesterday about the lack of leadership in our country, and my hope that my pediatric patients and my children will learn from the current discord and rise to be leaders when it is their turn https://drplasticpicker.com/let-2020s-failure-be-a-reminder-for-you-you-are-a-leader-our-world-needs/.
So the picture above is the book my daughter was esctatic to receive. Mr. Plastic Picker bought it to be shipped same day. Our daughter is rereading Hunger Games again, and will end it with this newly published prequel. I find her it odd places around the house these days as she changes her reading location. She is always curled up with her book. Yesterday she was on the living room couch, then in her backyard tent, a few hours later curled next to her brother in his room and then suddenly last night as I came out of the shower in our bed – and always with this book and her face obscured by its cover. She is immersed in this dystopian world with a female teenage hero that is magnificent with a bow, and a teenage love story that is captivating her. Our daughter is forming her imaginary heroes that will guide her. I hope that when she is older and she thinks of the her moral beacons – that perhaps she will think of her mother. And in the end the truth is that for many of us including myself, our moral beacons are our children.
Click here to read last week’s Hopeful Wednesday post. I had real estate on my mind! https://drplasticpicker.com/5-27-2020-five-reasons-to-be-hopeful-this-wednesday-real-estate/