Dr. Paul Schoenfeld: A Holiday Message
This post was originally published on the Family Talk Blog on Nov. 21, 2018. It was republished with permission on DaVita Stories.
All of us are connected with each other.
When we sit down for dinner and eat a slice of bread, we bite down into the crusty dough, only thinking about how delicious it tastes. We might be thankful that we picked up this great loaf of bread at our local supermarket.
But dig a little deeper. A farmer had to buy the seed and plant it in his field with his tractor that was manufactured by 100’s of factory workers. The seed was fertilized—the fertilizer was produced in another plant run by 100’s of workers. Scores of farm workers made sure the soil was watered and weeded. The wheat was harvested by another machine, made in another factory, with hundreds of workers—not even to mention how the steel for the harvester was mined and formed. The grain was milled by many more workers and brought to the bakery by trucks driven by men and women. The grain was formed into dough by more people. And the list goes on—that single bit of crusty bread was brought into being by a vast parade of human beings, all working to create this source of nourishment for you. It’s amazing.
Yet, sitting at our dinner table, we forget that almost everything that we use comes from a vast interdependent web of human beings from all over the world. They are invisible to us as we enjoy a simple meal, sit on a chair and read, or drive to our local market.
We take this network of interdependent human beings for granted because we only see and touch the end product. Yet, when we look deeper we realize that so much of what we have is brought to us by so many others. Much of who we are is also influenced and formed by many individuals.
I know that my own life has been touched by many wonderful people. I’ve been fortunate to have parents that nurtured me, encouraged me, and supported my education. I had teachers who saw my potential. I had family members that loved me. I have a wife of 41 years that loves and appreciates me. And I am blessed with children who care about me. I have wonderful colleagues at The Everett Clinic who have supported my efforts for over 25 years. All that I have accomplished has come from the help of many. When I consider these individuals, I am filled with gratitude.
It easy for us, when times are tough, to forget about our connections with people we know and with those we don’t know. We can focus on our differences and think that all we have comes from our own two hands.
During this holiday time of year, let us focus on our connections, our interdependence, and our common human condition. Let us find each other, no matter how different we may appear on the surface. Connect with each person that you come into contact with and recognize that they are part of our human family and in indirect ways are part of your life.
There is no “us and them”—there is only us.