He leads me beside still waters. Psalm 23:2
Clearly, each of us must discern what is our Shepherd-given task and do it with our might. Some have easier terrain to traverse than others, but we are never as trapped by circumstances as we imagine. The real question is whether he is in control, or whether a pattern has been set without further reference to him. It is essential that some regular time is found for reflection in his presence and rumination on his guidance if faith is to be fresh rather than formal. He may suggest delegation, better planning, even saying `No' to some cherished (or even charitable) activity, taken on without his blessing. If we do not make this time for him, he may have no choice but to make it for himself, even through crises of our own creation.
For some of our patients, an unwelcome period of lying down may be one when they start seeking spiritual guidance for the first time. If, from our own experience, we are sensitive to this possibility, we shall more readily tune in to their deeper needs and lead them toward the living water so essential now for our own survival. If instead we convey a sense of turbulence and roughness, with no inner tranquility, all our other activities on their behalf will leave them as harassed and helpless as before and with their healing incomplete. The choice is ours, and we take it each day. How we need the Shepherd's leading.
30th March 2015: Empathy
He had to be made like his brethren in every respect, so that he might become a merciful and faithful high priest... Hebrews 2:17
I used to think I was a fairly decent paediatrician -- providing sound medical care while helping patients and their families cope with both health and illness. But last week, my ability to understand parents increased by at least a degree of magnitude. My six-month-old son cried out for most of two nights. I tried all the clever tricks I knew, but to no avail. Whispering, talking, singing, bouncing, running, sitting, lying, walking -- none of my manipulations of his environment consoled him. My wife and I had frustrating and fitful sleep as we took turns with our son. Before, I had imagined what it must be like for parents to deal with a sick child. Now, I have some personal experience. Already, I've been able to deal with people with a new dimension of empathy.
The book of Hebrews instructs us to `consider Jesus'. As I consider his omniscience, I realise that he could imagine pretty well what life is like on earth. Yet he didn't settle for a carefully calculated understanding of the human condition. He chose to experience humanness, personally. He lived as we live. He faced limitation and hardship. He accepted emotional and physical fatigue and discomfort. And through it all, he became personally able to sympathise with our weakness and to deal empathetically with us.
But somehow incarnation, resurrection and propitiation all seem somewhat distant when I'm tired and frustrated in the middle of a sleepless night. That's where a third result of Jesus' fleshliness comes in. He has been through it all: he can sympathise with us: he can come to our aid. In the daily (and nightly) details of life, he can help us. He does understand. I need only with confidence to `draw near to the throne of grace...' (Heb 4:15-16).
Even as God gives me the best that Heaven can offer, I can provide for my patients the best of what medical science can offer. And as Jesus understandingly deals with me, so I can and should deal emphatically with my patients.
some space away from the world is sometimes good. although i am the epitomy of WANDERLUST, somehow i managed to curbb that and carve some time away to actually do the things i have to do. well. not exactly that i've even done 1% of all the things i've to do. haha. but time to think away from the detritus and the everyday craziness of labor ward is welcomed. ah labor ward. its something that i was actually terrified of (not to mention the prospect of doing night float there). way before even coming to med sch i had envied people who got to rush around delivering babies, etc. i guess it's all part of the public perception of what a dr means. so that's a large part of why i signed up for this (quite literally). fast forward to the daily craziness of calling anesthetists on my handphone. anesthesia mo "do you know what is epiphrine?" , of arranging STAT C SECTIONS. running to the ot to deliver ot chits has become like second nature to me now. i cant even count the number of times, in between dragging cows from room to room, i tell one of the nurses "wah this is really living life on the edge eh" and they will be like "ha. ha" and then two mins later: "dr new case to clerk. contractions every 5 mins. and need to set plug too". kinda fun on hindsight. lol.