A boy named HAPPY
My negative emotions had taken over
It was Friday, 30 minutes to the end of my hospital shift - and I was DONE.
The day had been CRAZY busy. It felt hectic; even out of control at times. I glanced at my watch eager for the day to end. Time was moving painfully slow, tick…tick…tick.
Suddenly my office phone rang, and with it a request to add one more patient to my schedule. It was an urgent request from the pediatrician located across the street. It had to be done TODAY. Through clenched teeth I reluctantly said, “OK, send them over.”
I was NOT happy
Within minutes, the patient’s name popped up on the screen. It was a 4-year-old boy whose name was “RANJIT.” I let out a big sigh. I struggled to find my composer. I was tired both physically and emotionally. I questioned my ability to find the patience needed to perform an ultrasound on a squirmy, sick little boy. I grabbed the requisition and headed to the lobby, shoulders tense and feeling defeated.
As I entered the nearly vacant room, I saw him. He was circling the room, touching everything in his site. The potted plant, the counter, the magazines, the flyers on the table. He climbed on the lobby chairs and over the loveseats. To the left of the room sat his parents, patiently waiting with a look in their eyes I had seen many times before - FEAR.
I took in deep breath and glanced again at the paper in my hand. “Ranjit” I thought, his name is “Ranjit.” As I slowly approached the child, I planted a strained smile on my face and bent down to meet him where he sat, crossed legged in the middle of the room. I asked, “Is your name Ranjit?”
What happened next was completely unexpected. This sick little boy paused. He slowly looked up to meet my gaze. He had big brown eyes that appeared to be glazed over from fever. Looking past my painted smile and deep into my soul, his entire face was illuminated by his bright, expansive smile. He responded in a tone that could only be described as joy, and said with complete certainty, “No, my name is HAPPY.”
In that moment, I felt a shift
I let out a small gasp as I felt myself suddenly struggle to find my breath. My eyes filled up with tears. A wave of deep emotion washed over me as I felt the tension leave my shoulders and a new feeling penetrate my body. I had felt this feeling before. I felt light, energized and playful. The feelings of fatigue, anxiety and frustration no longer clouded my thoughts. I felt HAPPY.
I gently met the boys gaze and I warmly returned his smile. With a childlike giggle I said, “Guess what? My name is HAPPY too!” The boy grinned. I extended my hand out to his, and he accepted. We proceeded to skip back to the exam room together as he quietly sang, “Happy, Happy, Happy”.
I had surrendered.
Every moment, we have the power to decide who we want to be
How many times in life are we assigned labels or stereotypes without permission or consideration for who we truly are? We have the right to challenge those labels, to dispute those stereotypes and be our authentic self. The boy’s given name was “Ranjit” he was labeled as “sick,” but he identified with happy…and so HAPPY was who he chose to be.
I also had a choice that day. I chose to let my negative energy consume me. I talked about my suffering all day. I took it to lunch with me, on my breaks, even contaminated my patients and my friends. It wasn’t until a beautiful little boy reminded me, that there is always another choice with negative emotions. The choice to set them free.