Tuesday, January 25, 2011

Is This Real Life?

I've heard this phrase from fellow students multiple times since starting med school. It's usually said with an expression of both sarcasm and sincerity.

I realize the phrase isn't meant to begin a philosophical debate, but this weekend I went to a CMDA (Christian Medical and Dental Association) conference at Camp Michindoh and the speaker, Dr. Mike Miller, made an interesting point that reminded me of it.

Dr. Miller is a micro-vascular plastic surgeon. A really, really good one. He loves surgery. But, apparently, the surgery itself can get old. To him, real life isn't medicine.
Out of curiousity, I looked up the words real and life in the dictionary. By the way, looking up words in a real dictionary is really fun. It's been years since I've actually cracked one open and this morning it provided a certain sense of accomplishment.

My dictionary was a gift from Ryan on my 18th Birthday.
Of or relating to fixed, permanent, or immovable things
The quality that distinguishes a vital and functional being from a dead body; a principle or force that is considered to underlie the distinctive quality of animate beings.

so...Real Life:
A permanent principle or force that distinguishes a functional being from a dead body.

While I'm a fan of my dictionary, I'm also a fan of my Bible. Here's what it has to say about real life. (aka eternal life)

Jesus prays, "Now this is Eternal Life:
That they may know you, the only true God, and Jesus Christ, whom you have sent."
John 17:3

The phrase "Is this real life?" in its context of medical school should be met with a resounding no. Meeting a need through a job or career is a good thing, it can be something we love, but Dr. Miller made it clear that it is not real life. Real life comes through Christ. As a Christian and a doctor understanding that real life is not sustaining someones quality of life or heartbeat through modern medicine, but rather knowing God, is so encouraging. 

Unfortunately that's not something they teach in medical school.

1 comment:

  1. I just got a dictionary app on my phone! Very useful!