Walter Jacobson, M.D.

Walter Jacobson, M.D.

Posted January 17, 2010

Published in Lifestyle

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What Can We Learn From Haiti?

Read More: acceptance, blessings, gratitude, grievances, laugh, resentments, smile

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Life is fleeting. Life is precarious. Life is precious.

Life is not to be taken for granted. In the blink of an eye it can be taken away.

It behooves us to look at each new day with appreciation, to count our blessings and be grateful for what we have despite whatever lack or limitations we're experiencing.

It behooves us to make the most of each new day, to find the silver linings when it's cloudy, to be happy despite the chaos and the fear, to make a difference in other people's lives, to let go of old resentments and petty grievances, and to smile and laugh as much as we can .


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The trainer at the gym watched me struggle with eight-pound weights. "You getting enough protein?" she asked. Before my brain could function properly enough to get me to say, simply "Yes," I said, "I'm a vegan."

The conversation went downhill from there with her concluding that I was in extreme danger of both a protein deficiency and crumbling bones from osteoporosis. I disagreed. And that pissed her off.

I sat on the floor to do my "cunches."

On the gym TV the guys on the treadmills were watching the disaster unfolding in Haiti -- laughing. "I guess building codes are a good thing after all," said one buffed guy.

"Yeah, (laughing)you'd think after 20 years they'd learn," said the other buffed guy.

I thought Don't you know? People in Haiti are so poor they eat dirt. And you expect them to have proper building supplies?

I also thought what if, instead of using mountains of grain to feed cattle for our hamburgers, we instead shared that grain with the Third World?

Oh, well, it'll never happen -- we Americans need our "high quality protein," to build our "buns of steel."

Sometimes it seems like "buns of steel" go with hearts of steel.


It's amazing to watch the outpouring of compassion from people from every corner of the earth. As they pulled children out of the rubble last night, my eyes filled with tears as everyone at the scene applauded.

People in need are so appreciative, even if it's the elderly next door neighbor who needs their grass mowed. Here today, gone tomorrow. I think we miss a lot of opportunities in our own backyard.

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