Monday, November 26, 2012

Dumb. And Dumber...

The ENT doc I'm with always tells patients with hearing loss that it makes them look "less smart" than they really are, "if fact," he says, "it makes you look dumb." It's his way of encouraging them to consider hearing aids, I think. And to sympathize with their frustrations.

Well, I wonder if I look dumb, standing in the exam room watching doctor-patient encounters. Because sometimes that's exactly how I feel.

Every once in a while, maybe more like every once in day, I feel especially dumb. I wonder why didn't I think to ask that question or look at that part of the exam or think of that diagnosis. I need to have "hindsight is 20/20" tattooed visibly somewhere on my body. Today was a day I asked those questions to myself more times than I care to remember and that always leads to the thought, I'm never going to be any good at this.

I realize the irrationality embedded within that statement. But, for a split second it's really what I think.

It's hard to be patient when I spend all day with a brilliant doc who has been practicing medicine for the better part of my existence. Comparing my abilities to his is an easy trap to fall into during just about every patient encounter. Plus, he makes what he does so easy, so easy.

Someday. Someday I'll read this and be thankful I'm not a student anymore. I don't like feeling useless. I like having jobs I feel competent doing and helpful completing. I'm pretty sure when I asked if there was anything I could do to help during a procedure today he handed me a band-aid to entertain my helplessness.

I'm learning it's a hard thing to be taught. It's far easier and more comfortable for me to be the teacher.

I'm also learning that as soon as I think I have figured out how to handle a particular situation, I'm usually missing something. Not hard things. But things I thought I wouldn't forget to do when interviewing, examining, or diagnosing patients. If they were hard things I was missing, maybe I'd be easier on myself. Maybe. Maybe not.

Pride comes before the fall. And the fall is never very much fun.

Sunday, November 18, 2012

"To Know All Is To Forgive All"

A poem. Happy Sunday.

If I knew you and you knew me--
If both of us could clearly see,
And with an inner sight divine
The meaning of your heart and mine--
I'm sure that we would differ less
And clasp our hands in friendliness
Or thoughts would pleasantly agree
If I knew you, and you knew me.

If I knew you and you knew me,
As each one knows his own self, we
Could look each other in the face
And see therein a truer grace.
Life has so many hidden woes,
So many thorns for every rose
The "why" of things our hearts would see,
If I knew you and you knew me.

Nixon Waterman

Sunday, November 11, 2012

The Weight of Glory

This is my summary (with the main point excerpts, at least to me) of CS Lewis in his message entitled, The Weight of Glory.He portrays a beautiful picture of what I think should motivate us, especially as Christ followers, to love.

"The negative idea of Unselfishness carries with it the suggestion not primarily of securing good things for others, but of going without them ourselves, as if our abstinence and not their happiness was the important point. I do not think this is the Christian virtue of Love."

Lewis goes on to describe heavenly glory as fame or good report:
"...not fame conferred by our fellow creatures--fame with God, approval or (I might say) appreciation by God...."Well done, thou good and faithful servant." ....I suddenly remembered that no one can enter heaven except as a child; and nothing is so obvious in a child--as its great and undisguised pleasure in being praised...And that may raise our thoughts to what may happen when the redeemed soul, beyond all hope and nearly beyond belief, learns at last that she has pleased Him whom she was created to please....To please be a real ingredient in the divine be loved by God, not merely pitied, but delighted in as an artist delights in his work or a father in a son--it seems impossible, a weight or burden of glory which our thoughts can hardly sustain. But so it is." 

And then connecting the weight of glory in ourselves to the idea of Christian love Lewis described first, He says:
"The load, or weight, or burden of my neighbor's glory should be laid on my back, a load so heavy that only humility can carry it, and the backs of the proud will be broken....Next to the Blessed Sacrament itself, you neighbor is the holiest object presented to your senses. If he is your Christian neighbor, he is holy in almost the same way, for in him also Christ vere latitat--the glorifier and the glorified, Glory Himself, is truly hidden."

Sunday, November 4, 2012

Me, James, Taylor, and Clive

James Taylor's Pandora station makes me wish I was 24 in the 70's. It makes me wish I were a better guitar player and it's the station that most frequently accompanies me on a car trip longer than 20 minutes. Well, it shares a spot with Taylor Swift's new album Red to be perfectly honest. And I'll admit, the idea for a James Taylor station came from a line in Taylor Swift's new song Begin Again. And, can I just say, James Taylor and his music making friends make for a fail proof, dinner party kind of Spotify playlist. I'm kind of excited about it.

I started a new book. It was an impulse buy that had been mulled over many times beforehand, somewhat justifying the purchase. The Weight of Glory is a compilation of CS Lewis. It includes this quote from his speech Learning In War-Time I wanted to share in light of the current political loyalties...
There is therefore this analogy between the claims of our religion and the claims of war: neither of them, for most of us, will simply cancel or remove from the slate the merely human life which we were leading before we entered them. But they will operate in this way for different reasons. The war will fail to absorb our whole attention because it is a finite object and, therefore, intrinsically unfitted to support the whole attention of the human soul. In order to avoid misunderstanding I must here make a few distinctions. I believe our cause to be, as humans go, very righteous, and I therefore believe it to be a duty to participate in this war. And every duty is a religious duty, and our obligation to perform every duty is therefore absolute. Thus we may have a duty to rescue a drowning man and, perhaps, if we live on a dangerous coast, to learn lifesaving so as to be ready for any drowning man when he turns up. It may be our duty to lose our own lives in saving him. But if anyone devoted himself to lifesaving in the sense of giving it his total attention--so that he thought and spoke of nothing else and demanded the cessation of all other human activities until everyone learned to swim--he would be a monomaniac. The rescue of drowning men is, then, a duty worth dying for, but not living for. It seems to me that all political duties (among which I include military duties) are of this kind. A man may have to die for our country, but no man must, in any exclusive sense, live for his country. He who surrenders himself without reservation to the temporal claims of a nation, or a party, or a class is rendering to Caesar that which, of all things, most emphatically belongs to God: himself. 
And here are some photos from a recent trip to Mackinac Island with the Maxwells and Erin for a half marathon...probably my most favorite course to date.