Wednesday, January 27, 2010

Big Challenges Made Small

We all know that there are continuing challenges that we in heath care face each day. But with all the global challenges including wars and the recent Haiti earthquake and its unbelievable devastation, it is important to remember each day that it is the miracle moments--however small--that you make happen that continue to truly make the difference in people’s lives. It is usually the aggregations of small acts of kindness and compassion that change the world.

Money, ships, troops, organizations, and supplies continue to arrive in Haiti, but the positive outcomes we all hope for will only occur when one person interacts with another to assess and treat an injury, hand out food, distribute medicine, give words of encouragement, extend a warm hand, offer a big hug, or quietly say a prayer. We must always remind ourselves that the “bigger picture” of sustained improvement would never get painted without the individual strokes of many “artists” like you!

What reminded me to write this message was the brief story below that I came across recently while I was on the road. But more importantly, it reminded me once again just how critical our 30,000 CHRISTUS Associates, 9,000 physicians, 1,800 volunteers and 250 governance participants are in assuring that, as the CHRISTUS Family, we are continuously carrying out our Mission, living our Values and mapping out the Journey to Excellence so as to reach our Vision. Each day, each task, each miracle moment is what it is all about. Stop today and thank your teams for all they do to “answer the myriad of letters sent to God.”

Our 14-year-old dog, Abbey, died last month. The day after she died, my 4-year-old daughter Meredith was crying and talking about how much she missed Abbey. She asked if we could write a letter to God so that when Abbey got to heaven, God would recognize her. I told her that I thought we could so she dictated these words:

Dear God,

Will you please take care of my dog? She died yesterday and is with you in heaven. I miss her very much. I am happy that you let me have her as my dog even though she got sick. I hope you will play

with her. She likes to play with balls and to swim. I am sending a picture of her so when you see her You will know that she is my dog. I really miss her.


We put the letter in an envelope with a picture of Abbey and Meredith and addressed it to God/Heaven. We put our return address on it. Then Meredith pasted several stamps on the front of the envelope because she said it would take lots of stamps to get the letter all the way to heaven. That afternoon she dropped it into the letter box at the post office. A few days later, she asked if God had gotten the letter yet. I told her that I thought He had.
Yesterday, there was a package wrapped in gold paper on our front porch addressed, ‘To Meredith’ in an unfamiliar handwriting. Meredith opened it. Inside was a book by Mr. Rogers called, ‘When a Pet Dies.’ Taped to the inside front cover was the letter we had written to God in its opened envelope. On the opposite page was the picture of Abbey and Meredith and this note:

Dear Meredith,

Abbey arrived safely in heaven. Having the picture was a big help. I recognized Abbey right away. Abbey isn’t sick anymore. Her spirit is here with me just like it stays in your heart. Abbey loved being your dog. Since we don’t need our bodies in heaven, I don’t have any pockets to keep your picture in, so I am sending it back to you in this little book for you to keep and have something to remember Abbey by. Thank you for the beautiful letter and thank your mother for helping you write it and sending it to me. What a wonderful mother you have. I picked her especially for you. I send my blessings every day and remember that I love you very much. By the way, I’m easy to find… I am wherever there is love.


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