What the good doctor said.

I work late on Mondays and I don't get back to the house until 10:30. I usually end up working into the morning hours on my Etsy shop because I enjoy the peace the night brings. Tuesdays can be a little tough when I have to get up early. Today happened to be one of those Tuesdays.

I was scheduled to see my optometrist at 9:15. In the spring she had noticed my optic nerve was enlarged and wanted to do a thorough check of my eyes. I considered canceling because I was so tired and this visit wasn't a pressing issue. I forced myself out of bed and rallied for my appointment.

The assistant took me back immediately and ran a series of photographs and tests. The doctor reviewed the photographs with me and explained what she saw, as well as what she was looking for. She took me back to her office to run one last check.

She had taken over the practice in the spring, and I happened to be one of her first patients when she took over the practice. I felt compelled to ask her, "How have things been since you took over the practice?"

She sat back in her chair, paused for a moment then said, "It's funny you should ask that. I was just thinking about taking over the practice and how it feels like home to me. The patients are wonderful."

I said, "That's because you are a wonderful doctor. You care about your patients. It means a lot to us."

She replied, "Freedom is a personal responsibility. Think about it. We throw around the word "freedom" as though it is something that should be given to us. It's not. We all have a personal responsibility to the planet and to each other. In order to achieve freedom we have to work for it. I don't understand why people don't get it."

I sat there in stunned silence, about to cry. Is this why I was so set on making my appointment today? Maybe I needed to hear these words, and they came from the most unlikely of places. Almost every day we seem to be waking to acts of violence and tragedy. I told myself on Sunday that I would do something every day out of kindness, nonviolence, and generosity of spirit, in an effort to bring some sort of balance to all of the hurt in this world. I convinced myself that I will be guided on what action to take when practicing selfless service.

The day has only just begun. A simple gesture of acknowledgement has had a profound effect on me, and I felt I would share the good doctor's words. We aren't owed anything just because we were born. What we do with this lifetime really is up to us.

"Freedom is a personal responsibility."

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