Wow, what an unbelievable week this has been. That sounds cliché, but I don’t really know how else to put it. I went into the week without really knowing what to expect. Yes, we read Patch Adams’s book and I had an idea of what West Virginia would look like, but it was so much more than that. Every single moment was as new of an experience for me as it had been for all of the participants of this trip. It was a new experience for the facilitators at Gesundheit!, for me, and (safe to say) for every single person at Gesundheit this week. Each morning, I expect to be called out to breakfast with the sound of a 20+ year old conch echoing through the valley. But back in NY, there is no conch, and there is no valley.
Each moment was filled with uncontrolled laughter and joy. Each moment was filled with excitement for what the next day would have for us. We shared all of those moments, but it’s important that we hold on to them and fight to keep them in our minds. Throughout the week, we might’ve not been directly building a hospital at Gesundheit, but we were still living Patch’s dream. We spent one week with nothing but happiness, passion, and laughter. That’s what it’s all about. As ambassadors for the Gesundheit! Institute, we have to make sure that we continue to spread happiness and incorporate it into everything we do. Patch Adams is all about the idea that life is full of joy, and a life without joy is worse than a life full of sickness. The one thing that I hope everyone got from this trip is to live a life with so many smiles that your muscles are physically incapable of frowning any more. After all, smiling uses less energy than frowning, so why don’t we all smile just a little bit more?
We’re back in New York, where the nearest grocery store is not two hours away, but rather an elevator ride downstairs. Where people are not outnumbered by deer and ladybugs. We can still spread joy here, and I know that’s what I’ll be doing.