Poverty is not an accident. Like slavery and apartheid, it is man-made and can be removed by the actions of human beings.
Poverty is not an accident. Like slavery and apartheid, it is man-made and can be removed by the actions of human beings.
No matter what people tell you, words and ideas can change the world.
You’re only given one little spark of madness. You mustn’t lose it.
Wise words from a wise friend…
We should try living our lives the way we teach little kids to live theirs.
We must not see any person as an abstraction. Instead, we must see in every person a universe with its own secrets, with its own treasures, with its own sources of anguish, and with some measure of triumph.
I just wanted to say thank you to everyone who views the blog and follows me on Twitter. The statistics are in, and the blog had the most views in April than ever before and nearly double from a year ago! May has started off strong as well, so perhaps a new record will be set.
Life has been a little busy lately, and I definitely have some good health care and health policy related posts in the pipeline. I apologize for all the filler, but it does keep things a little light and funny! Stick here, keep reading, and feel free to share, like and retweet posts. And once again, thanks!
Today’s normally scheduled hilarious someecard post has been deferred for another week, for today marks an incredibly important day in Boston, in Massachusetts, and in New England.
Because today is Patriot’s Day, and the annual running of the Boston Marathon. After last year’s tragic events, it seems inappropriate to make a marathon joke in my honest opinion. I can only hope that today’s marathon goes as smoothly as possible. And while the city and the media have taken the past week to reflect on last year’s bombing, I’d like to take a few minutes.
I’ll admit that writing this post is emotionally harder than I expected. It’s hard to explain how a tragedy in one’s city can affect you even if you don’t know anyone personally affected. The disruption of the sense of security and safety during the day of the bombing and the chilling quiet during the city’s subsequent shutdown will linger in the hearts and minds of every citizen of Boston, and to that feeling, I am not immune. But I also remain overwhelmed by how Boston responded to this tragedy. Bostonians are not known to be a warm, bubbly, and friendly population, but the reaction to the marathon bombing proved that our harder exteriors mask a caring and compassionate core.
I think the best way to commemorate the people we lost, those who were affected, and the way life changed that day is through reflecting on the words spoken during that terrible week. On my tenth Marathon Monday, my own comments from last year still ring loudly.
…Standing on the streets of our city next to friends, neighbors, and strangers alike, cheering on runners from around the world. Marathon Monday is a day when college rivalries dissolve, and Red Sox and Yankees fans stand next to one another, offering ‘high-fives’ to people facing the holy grail of athleticism head on. It is a day where the people of Boston remember why we love this town so much.
For a single day each year, the world focuses its attention on our beautiful city. And it is a limelight in which we revel. We are not a London or Paris or New York City; the spotlight does not always shine on us. We are a small city, but we are an intensely proud one. We are a city of academics and students, doctors and nurses, lawyers and judges, athletes and champions. We are a city that has faced adversity in the past – the Boston Marathon is run on the very day commemorating the brave patriots who fought British aggression on the battlefields outside of Lexington and Concord. We are a city that mourned with our fellow Americans on 9/11, saddened further that our fair city was the origin for two of those doomed flights. We are a city with a storied past, a history well known.
To all of the first responders – police, firefighters, doctors, nurses, paramedics, and EMTs, we thank you from the bottom of our hearts for your courage and diligence. To the runners who finished the race and turned back to help or ran to local hospitals to donate blood – you truly are superhuman. To the citizens of our city who opened up their hearts and homes, thank you for showing the world what Boston is truly all about. And to the families that are mourning – know that we are hurting with you.
To the person or persons who perpetrated this cowardly act, you have messed with the wrong town. You have gravely miscalculated how our city responds to violence that kills and injures innocent bystanders, especially when it comes to our children. For when you perpetrate acts of terror against Boston, you are dealing not only with our city but with all of New England. One only need to hear a speech from our mayor or attend a Boston sporting event to know that we proudly and fiercely defend her. We are a town that does not easily forgive and never forgets. We may talk a lot of trash in this town, but trust and believe that our bark is nowhere near as bad as our bite.
President Obama’s words reminded us of how good this city is, and the need to carry on. His words forecasted the remarkable moment after the Red Sox won the World Series, and cheering indeed returned to Boylston Street.
But we also come together today to reclaim that state of grace, to reaffirm that the spirit of this city is undaunted and the spirit of the country shall remained undimmed. [...] You showed us, Boston, that in the face of evil, Americans will lift up what’s good. In the face of cruelty, we will choose compassion. In the face of those who would visit death upon innocents, we will choose to save and to comfort and to heal. We’ll choose friendship. We’ll choose love. [...] In the words of Dick Hoyt, who has pushed his disabled son Rick in 31 Boston marathons, we can’t let something like this stop us. This doesn’t stop us. And that’s what you’ve taught us, Boston. That’s what you’ve reminded us, to push on, to persevere, to not grow weary, to not get faint even when it hurts. [...] We carry on. We race. We strive. We build and we work and we love and we raise our kids to do the same. And we come together to celebrate life and to walk our cities and to cheer for our teams when the Sox, then Celtics, then Patriots or Bruins are champions again, to the chagrin of New York and Chicago fans. The crowds will gather and watch a parade go down Boylston Street. And this time next year on the third Monday in April, the world will return to this great American city to run harder than ever and to cheer even louder for the 118th Boston Marathon.
Bet on it.
But perhaps Governor Patrick Deval said it best in his speech during the interfaith service.
And I am thankful, maybe most especially, for the countless numbers of people in this proud City and this storied Commonwealth who, in the aftermath of such senseless violence, let their first instinct be kindness. [...] So, we will recover and repair. We will grieve our losses and heal. We will rise, and we will endure. We will have accountability, without vengeance. Vigilance, without fear. And we will remember, I hope and pray, long after the buzz of Boylston Street is back and the media has turned its attention elsewhere, that the grace this tragedy exposed is the best of who we are.
Amen Governor, amen.
May this year’s marathon truly show our ability to recover and repair, to rise and endure, to overcome adversity and demonstrate our will and strength. To all the runners, may you run your hearts out and conquer your dreams. To the friends and family members cheering them on, cheer louder than you have ever cheered before and show the world what we’re made of. And to the thousands of people who call this city home and all those eagerly watching, may you all have an amazing and safe Patriot’s Day and Marathon Monday. I certainly plan on being out there watching and cheering along with you.
One cannot and must not try to erase the past, merely because it does not fit the present.
Always remember: you’re braver than you believe, stronger than you seem, smarter than you think, & twice as beautiful as you’d ever imagined.
If you can’t be grateful for what you already have, what makes you think you’d be grateful with more?
I’m not going to censor myself to comfort your ignorance.
Stolen from a friend’s Facebook status…
Life consists not in holding good cards but playing those you hold well. But sometimes… it feels like ’52 pickup’.
Stolen from a friend, but a great quote and words that echo what I often tell medical students, incoming residents, and those interested in pursuing a career in surgery but worried about having a personal life. Don’t put your life on hold because you are waiting for the “right time”. For many things in life, waiting for the “right time” may mean you are waiting forever.
If we let ourselves, we shall always be waiting for some distraction or other to end before we can really get down to our work. The only people who achieve much are those who want knowledge so badly that they seek it while the conditions are still unfavorable. Favorable conditions never come.
Courage doesn’t always roar. Sometimes courage is the quiet voice at the end of the day saying, ‘I will try again tomorrow.’
~Mary Anne Radmacher
I’m curious what Dr Martin Luther King, Jr would have though about this quote in his time, given his relentless fight to change the existing reality of discrimination in America. That said, one could argue he fought to build a new system. Still seems fitting for today.
You never change things by fighting the existing reality. To change something, build a new model that makes the existing model obsolete.
~Richard Buckminster Fuller
There’s only one reason why you’re not experiencing bliss at this present moment, and it’s because you’re thinking or focusing on what you don’t have.
Sometimes my friends are geniuses…
Expressing your feelings, especially affirming sentiments, should not be reserved for the space between your ears.
For the past few years, Facebook has allowed its users to construct a “Year in Review”, full of highlights from the past year – photos and status updates that received the most “likes” or comments from other users. To be honest, I just did mine today because to me, a year in a review truly cannot be done until the year is virtually over. But before I ran the year in review, I wondered what it would look like, what would be featured, and what I could gather from that review…
Indeed, the past year has been one full of changes and challenges, of fulfillment and turmoil, of triumphs and terror. It has been punctuated with tremendous highs – graduating with a Masters in Public Health, traveling to and operating in Haiti, becoming an uncle again, enjoying my relationship with my significant other and growing into a better person as a result. The year has had its share of lows as well – the uncertainty of returning to general surgery training, readjusting to a “work/life” balance upset by medicine, feeling rusty and inadequate as a physician and surgeon, grappling with a challenging personal issue involving my family, and grasping and coming to terms with the immeasurable loss of my grandmother.
I certainly would not have survived without the love of my dearest friends, a love that became all too clear after the terrifying events of the Boston Marathon bombing and ensuing lockdown. There are moments in life where you wish for your family to be close by, to hug and to hold your parents and to have them tell you that everything will be okay. Sadly, my family does not live near Boston, and in those horrifying moments after the bombing, it was my friends that I turned to for comfort, support, and camaraderie. They are the rocks on which I rely for strength, the shoulders to cry on, and the ears to talk to. It has been said that friends are the family we choose for ourselves, and I like to think I’ve chosen wisely.
So yes… I wondered what that “year in review” would reveal. And then… I remembered why I love New Year’s Eve so much to begin with, because New Year’s Eve is not meant to be a time to only rewind, regret, and wonder what could have been. Reflecting on the year that has gone is great but only as a stepping stone for the year ahead. For those who don’t like New Year’s Eve, those who get bogged down in the mad dash of the holiday season and the need to figure out what to do, New Year’s Eve isn’t about the best party plans or sitting alone wallowing in self-pity. New Year’s Eve is a gift we are given each year, an opportunity to change the bad, to put our fears, regrets and sorrows behind us, and to start over again with a clean slate. New Year’s Eve is the ultimate chance to look ahead, not backward. So take a moment to reflect and ponder, generate your “year in review” and remind yourself of all the good times. Then ask yourself not what could have been – but what should be done. And once you have your answer, raise your glass and toast to what will be.