Tonight I’m home.  I’m reading a little, then heading off to bed.  Last weekend, I was starting my night-shift.  Right now, I’m enormously thankful for the fact that I’m home, where I can hear my children sleeping upstairs.

Night-shift is hard.  I know I was exhausted after last Saturday and Sunday.  All night long in the ER, there’s seldom any end in sight.  People keep coming; most who need to be there, some who don’t.  But it is an enormous drain to try to function after hours; to do the right thing when all you want to do is curl up in a ball and sleep.  It gets harder every year.

As I listen to the insects outside on this lovely, cool September night and as I absorb the stillness of the house this last night of Summer, I think about all of the docs, nurses, medics, police-officers, fire-fighters and all the rest who are out prowling tonight; prowling because the rest of society is prowling as well.  I think about all of them, doing vital jobs even as their bodies cry out for the darkness, dreams and warm covers of their own beds.  I think about the pagers going off, the cars crashing, the coronary arteries occluding, the fevers spiking.  And I think about the women and men dedicated enough to be up at all hours, doing the right thing.  I think about it because I love and respect all of them.  And because last week, I was there.

So, before I go night-night, I’m saying a prayer for all of you guys and gals.  And I want to leave you with the prayer I prayed with my children tonight as they drifted off, oblivious to the dangers and miseries of working third.
‘We give you thanks, heavenly Father, through Jesus Christ, your dear Son, that you have today so graciously protected us, and we beseech you to forgive us all our sins, and the wrong which we have done, and through your great mercy defend us from all the perils and dangers of this night.  Into your hands we commend our bodies and souls, and all that is ours.  Let your holy angel guard us, that the wicked one may have no power over us.’  From Martin Luther
May stillness reign in the streets, quiet in the hospitals, safety in the cities and peace in all your hearts.  And may morning find you passed out in that comfy chair in the doctors’ call room.


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