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'Tis the Season

October 4, 2016

'Tis the Season To Be Thankful

written by Drew Snavely

It’s Freshman Move-In Week. The Student Activities crew has been working tirelessly for the better part of August to make sure all the events planned run smoothly for the freshly minted incoming students. We start the usual first day of move-in routine with a lawn promotion out on the Commons lawn. My stomach is a little upset, but nothing is going to stop me on one of the most hectic weekends of the year. We finish promotion and transition into Bingo Night. At this point my stomach is hurting pretty bad, but obviously I’m super tough, so I keep on working, not trying to think about it too much. By the middle of Bingo Night I’m on the phone with my mother asking if I should go to the hospital because I’m pretty sure I have appendicitis. It just so happens that my parents are in town dropping off my younger brother so they pick me up and take me to the Emergency Room.

The next two hours in the ER weren’t the most pleasant, but I was extremely lucky to have my parents and girlfriend there with me. Long story short, I get evaluated, scanned and diagnosed with appendicitis and it only took about 7 hours! By the time I went to bed the next morning around 5 AM , I was pretty fed up with the whole process leading up to that point, but knowing I was about to have surgery in a few hours made it seem like I was home free. So of course nothing made me happier than when I get out of surgery and the surgeon tells me that they found another infection while doing the procedure and I would have to stay in the hospital for one, maybe two more days as a result. “Great, a couple more days in prison,” I think to myself. After half a week I was finally released and free to do whatever I wanted, mostly. Reflecting back on the time spent in the hospital now, I could not be more thankful.

Four days is a long time when sitting in a hospital room not doing anything besides watching TV. I was ready to start banging my head off the wall because I was so bored, but my parents, girlfriend and friends that all spent time with me kept me sane. I found myself thinking over and over again, “I’m so thankful my parents are here”, “I’m so thankful Mer is here”, “I’m so thankful Jake, Erin, Cale and Kay are here”. As my strength improved I continued saying things I was thankful for, such as “I’m so thankful I can walk”, “I’m so thankful I can go to the bathroom by myself”, “I’m so glad I can eat solid food”. Being in the hospital for that short time made me actually thankful. I put emphasis on “actually” because I feel like it is so easy to fall into the routine of thinking that you are thankful for various things when you aren’t actually thankful. Before my surgery I would say I was thankful for things so often to the point that I wasn’t even thinking about what I was actually saying. I had fallen into this pattern of artificial thankfulness. 

I am thankful that I had to spend time in the hospital because it forced me out of this pattern. Having surgery made me slow down and remember why I am so incredibly thankful for everything I have in my life. It is so easy to let everything going on in life completely take over the majority of our thoughts and daily lives, but it is crucial to slow down every once in a while and ask ourselves why we are thankful for things so that we don’t fall into that same routine, thoughtlessly and senselessly saying we are thankful. We can say we are thankful for so many things, but we find out what we are actually thankful for when we slow down from our insanely busy lives and ask ourselves “Why?” 

Slow down. Pause for a moment. Take a break when life is crazy. Remember everything you have and ask yourself, “Why am I thankful?” ‘Tis the season, after all.