As we near the end of the year, we can often get swept up in the excitement of the holidays and forget to take the moments we need to be still and reflect. This is a practice I like to do often, but even more so at the end of each year as Shannon and I celebrate Thanksgiving and prepare for a new year.
While I understand reflecting on this past year may be emotional, I believe it is important—now more than ever before—that we do so. No matter what hardships and challenges the past few months have brought our way, there is always something to be thankful for.
I’ve discovered that it is often in the midst of difficult times, when I’m weathering a storm, that I’m able to see all the things that I’m grateful for—things I may have missed in the moment, or overlooked if I had only concentrated on the hardships. For example, as you’ve heard me say many times—this year has been one of the most difficult in Texas Children’s history. Yet through all of the challenges we’ve encountered, I cannot begin to tell you how much we’ve learned, accomplished and grown as an organization.
This year, I have seen collaboration among teams and colleagues unlike ever before, advancement in patient care, and efficient development of plans and adaptability surrounding the newest mandated policies and procedures. I’ve witnessed expansions in programs, grand openings of facilities, and the growth of our community in Austin—all amidst a global pandemic. And most recently, after months of tireless work by our COVID Vaccine Task Force and Operations Command and hospital leadership, I had the privilege of announcing that Texas Children’s is pre-positioned to receive a shipment of COVID-19 vaccines in the coming weeks.
Was this year exceptionally difficult? Yes. Did I experience some of the toughest moments I’ve ever had during my time as President and CEO? Yes. But, if we never experience the difficult seasons, we’d never know how strong and resilient we truly are.
We are on the verge of a breakthrough in combating COVID-19, but we cannot stop now. This is the time to remain vigilant.
I ask all of you to continue doing your part in mitigating the spread of the virus. Please avoid large gatherings, wash your hands frequently, continue to wear your masks at all times and remain vigilant at social distancing. I understand that social distancing from our loved ones during the holiday season will be extremely difficult, but it is what we must do in order to keep them and everyone around us safe and healthy. We have made it so far already, let’s keep it up so we can keep our families and each other safe.
All of you are the reason I’m thankful this year. I am so proud to work alongside some of the greatest people I’ve ever known. We’ve made it this far and I’m confident that we will overcome together—as One Amazing Team.
As you prepare for the upcoming holiday season, please take some time to yourself to be still and reflect on the past year. I promise you that it’s in these moments where you will discover exactly what true gratitude means to you and you may also find your reason to be grateful in the storm.