Notes from the Faith Journey: Melinda Hartson

As many of you know, I’m a doctor. Not surprisingly, this year has been the most challenging of my 30-year career. I’ve had critically ill patients, colleagues getting sick and even dying, and I’ve worried about getting sick myself. In late December, when the Covid vaccine became available, I was so grateful to be able to be in the first group to receive it. I was reminded of the importance of gratitude.

In church, I’ve always thought of gratitude as just being grateful to God. But I saw a patient recently for her last visit before her planned delivery the following week, and she took the time to thank us for taking care of her, and for how safe and cared for she felt in our office. It didn’t make all of the bad things go away, but it was just what I needed to hear, and it made me realize the importance of expressing gratitude to others.

One thing I’m grateful for is that my friend Randy dropped off a bag around Christmas-time that had, among other things, candles. My family has made it a habit to go to the late Christmas Eve service, and I have said it isn’t Christmas until we process outside to the porch and sing Silent Night with our candles. So this Christmas Eve at home, we turned out the lights, lit our candles, and sang Silent Night. As I looked around at my family, we were all in tears, and I realized that while it wasn’t the same, and it wasn’t perfect, at that time, it was enough.

I am so grateful to God for my church, for my pastor, through whom God’s love shines so brightly, you can feel it through a computer screen, and for all of you who have kept me in your hearts and prayers even though we haven’t seen each other in person. And that for now, that’s enough.

Melinda Hartson