|In recovery, after my 1st hand surgery.|
Now, Dr. M. began with one rather involved story of an uneducated woman in the Bengal area of India who became a grass-roots activist and successfully challenged the violence and corruption of the regional government. So successful was she, in fact, that she and her supporters won a surprising landslide victory in the Bengali elections and initiated an impressive series of reforms that improved the culture and economic prospects of the area. It was an interesting story, and I thought he would end there, scribble a few notes in my chart, and write me a new prescription for therapy. But then, Dr. M. continued with a story I had heard a couple of times before. Knowing that he wanted to tell it again for the benefit of the resident he was mentoring--who politely feigned interest--I abetted and encouraged his storytelling.
|An infant with a cleft palate.|
This was an amazing witness. It is stories, such as this one, that articulate our values, that say who we are at our core. That is why Dr. M needs to tell it so often, to different people, and even to people that have heard it before. It is his way of saying, "this is the kind of doctor I am; this is the kind of person I am." That is why I didn't mind hearing it for the um-teenth time. It is a ritual that continues to impart meaning and purpose to one's daily existence, and this should be honored and cherished by attentive listening. In this holy season of Lent, we are called to remember our common humanity, our common call to love and care for one another. May we recognize Jesus' commandment to love God and our neighbors as ourselves in the sacred stories others offer us, for they may come to us from unexpected quarters. Listen carefully.