I grew up in steel towns and with a steel family. My father was an engineer for a large steel company. He was quite a brilliant man and had a couple of patents on a new design of blast furnace (used in steel making). He traveled around the world for this company. In my youth, I knew the names of the steel mills, and I knew things like what coke ovens were, it was part of our culture.
By the 1980s, the town I grew up in was all but abandoned, the steel mills were silent. They no longer belched smoke, which in steel-mill culture is devastation. I was taught from the time I was an infant that when there was smoke in the air, it meant that men were working and families had food on their tables. This sounds like another century, doesn't it? Well, it was.
By the 1990s, my father was in a nursing home. Above his bed was a large framed photograph of one of his blast furnaces. I asked him how he felt about all those steel mills being gone, all that work, all his life's creative efforts went into - all gone. The blast furnace in the photo was gone. I thought this would be devastating for him.
He sanguinely said that he earned a good living and had a good life. He really didn't care if his creations lived forever. He did what he was supposed to do and the rest was out of his hands.
I often think of this. It astounded me at the time. Now, I am striving toward getting this attitude down. I can have pride in the quality of my work while I am doing it, but I need to let go of what happens with it after it's done.
I cannot make the State value the hospital I have poured my heart and soul into. I can thank God that I have earned a good living for the last 15 years. I can look forward to what is in my future, trusting that it will be how it is supposed to be. I can worry about patients who everyone but the politicians agree have no where to go, but I cannot go berserk over this.
I will endeavor to be an asset today wherever God has me. And I will remember the blast furnaces of my father.