It was 5 a.m. at O'Hare International Airport in Chicago. I had just come in on the "red-eye" from Los Angeles. I fly overnight in an effort not to be away from my family any more than I absolutely have to.
The sun hadn't come up yet when I reached the gate for my next flight. I had three hours to kill, but lots of work to do. I began by reviewing the day's agenda. There would be a number of important meetings taking place that day, and I wanted to make sure I was ready for each one of them.
As I was reviewing the day's agenda in my mind, I couldn't help but notice a young lady bringing an empty wheelchair into the passenger seating area. There must be a name for the people that provide wheelchair services at airports (wheelchair attendant, handicap services, etc.), but I don't know what it is. What caught my attention was that the young woman brought the wheelchair over to a seating area where there weren't any passengers who appeared to need a wheelchair. She then promptly sat down among the passengers and covered herself with her coat. I continued working on a number of things I wanted to accomplish during my three-hour layover. As I did, I glanced her way. There she sat, just kind of staring out into space. I was reviewing a proposal for an exciting new project. She seemed to be just trying to kill time.
The sun was coming up over the Chicago skyline, creating an ever changing display of picture-postcard scenes. I stopped several times just to witness the beauty God infused into that everyday event. But the woman never saw the incredible sunrise that was taking place behind her. She had her back to the stairs leading down from the upper level. Her view was to the west. My boarding time was now only 30 minutes away. She had been sitting there for more than two hours, just staring into space, as if in an effort to make the day go by. She finally got up and walked around, seemingly trying to make the time go by faster.
As I watched this young woman, I began to wonder, What does she live for? Certainly not her job. She's still young. What are her hopes, her dreams? From my observations over the previous two hours, it was clear her only focus was to finish her shift and get out of there. Is this her routine every day? I asked myself. What a nightmare it would be to go to a job where all you did was sit and wait for it to be over.
I took one final look back at the woman as I boarded my flight. How ironic a picture it was; everyone around her was excitedly going somewhere - except her.
A sudden appreciation for my job entered my thoughts. Yes, it involved hard work, long hours and time away from my family. But my job allows me to hope, dream and work to make a positive impact on an entire health care profession and the patients we serve. This young woman was about the same age most of you were when you graduated from chiropractic college. But instead of having a business of her own, she works at a job that gives her a small hourly wage and maybe a few tips.
You deliver health to hundreds of patients. She's just trying to get through each day. You own (or will own) your own business. You can build that business up to a level that will let you live and retire very comfortably. In her effort to kill time, she probably missed much of the beauty the day provided. What a shame.
How often do we take what we have for granted? The opportunity to own your own practice, provide chiropractic care and even offer other related services gives your life a potential that most people never aspire to. And like me, you may have let the hard work, long hours and hassles of owning a business overshadow the blessings you have.
As we begin this new year, let's re-examine the potential we have in developing our businesses. Let's remember the healing power of chiropractic, the blessings our business provides and the privilege it is to serve our patients. We have many opportunities for success that are waiting for us to apply ourselves. Let's be thankful we're not killing time in an airport somewhere and really going nowhere.
Click here for more information about Donald M. Petersen Jr., BS, HCD(hc), FICC(h), Publisher.