Merry Christmas 2014

Merry Christmas Everyone.

If you’re one of my readers, you’re probably not offended that I said that. Regardless, I wish the happiest holiday of your choice to you and yours should you not celebrate as I do. We’re a mixed-faith household and Hanukah is celebrated here as well. So is Festivus, even though my wife Amy seems to be able to beat me in both the Airing of Grievances and the Feats of Strength.

I’m writing this Christmas post from home this year. The excitement of Christmas morning has left the house in utter chaos, the kids are alternating between playing with new toys and getting ready to go to Granny and Papa’s house, and we’re all feeling rather blessed. At least, as blessed as we can manage in the face of the fact that both my wife and I have been walloped by some mystery illness that I apparently brought home from work. I’ll spare you the details, but it is definitely something that nobody wants to mess with. We’re all going to be fine, but this illness is no joke. The fever is one thing but the gastric hypermotility is quite another.

The one good thing that the illness has brought me is holiday time off.  This is the first year in a long time that I didn’t have to work Christmas or Christmas Eve. I was scheduled to work yesterday, but in the worst-possible-case scenario I had to call in sick for the third or fourth time in my life. I hated to do it and did not want to call in and leave my coworkers and employer high and dry, but I had no choice. Fever and incessant gastric hypermotility leaves one unable to answer 911 calls and I assure anyone who might have been my patient as well as all of my boys on “B” shift that what I had is most definitely something they do not want. I felt terrible about letting them down, but they and their families will thank me for not spreading what I’ve got to them.

But this Christmas post isn’t about us and our festive illnesses. It’s about the fact that since I have Christmas off this year I have realized that a part of me actually misses working on Christmas. Yes, I love my family and I am blessed to be here with them. I wouldn’t trade that for anything, plague or no plague. They’re the greatest gift anyone could ever have and I am the luckiest man in the world for having the chance to marry my wife earlier this year and become the step-daddy of two of the greatest kids ever, but even though I am elated to be here to share Christmas with them, there’s a part of me that misses working on today of all days.

We in the public service, be it healthcare, Emergency Services, Public Safety, or otherwise are blessed to serve. It is a privilege, not a burden, to be the person who others call to help them in their hour of need. It our honored privilege to be so trusted, depended upon, and chosen to answer those calls and stand as guard against the evils that may befall our fellow men and women. This is not an overstatement or a delusion of grandeur. Working on Christmas represents something special. It represents that you will give of yourself to others so that you may be the person who stands against the darkness on what is supposed to be the merriest of all days. Bad things will inevitably happen to both the naughty and the nice alike, people who are sick and well will become lonely and need reassurance and compassion, the same tide of societal maladies will still be out there and we will remain needed to guard against them, just like every other day.

But we all know that today isn’t any other day.

If you’re working today, take a minute to enjoy the privilege you have to serve. It may be a burden to miss your family, but as I’m sure you know by now a Christmas ham tastes just as good and a dreidel spins just as well the day before or after the holiday. Cherish your family but also cherish your privilege to make a difference in the lives of your fellow humans. It is an honor to be allowed to be the person that people depend upon to help them. We all need to remember to earn that privilege every day through our actions, our thoughts, and our feelings. Though some days it will feel like we’re not so lucky I assure you that there will come a day when you will miss it. One day when the bells no longer sound, the call lights no longer beep, and there is nobody left to help, you will miss working on Christmas. Such is life and such is time.

To my family, I love you. To my friends I send you my best. I hope to be able to see you all very soon but as we know the life of anyone is very hectic as lives are. To my work buddies, I’ll be there tomorrow back in the truck. I’ll also be there on New Year’s Eve so I can pay at least some of my holiday penance. To everyone out there keeping us safe and secure, thank you and bless you for all you do for me and for all of us.

Also, if you’re working and you had to eat or get gas in your rig today, give a thanks to the restaurant and service staff you’re depending on. They’re working too.

Merry Christmas and Happy Holidays.