Monday, September 25, 2017

Choose Daily

I had a moment tonight that reminded me of a brief conversation I had about my work last year with another member of my faith.  She asked if I wanted to do OB, and I gave my standard answer: "Maybe at some point. Not right now." (I have my reasons, but they aren't relevant to this particular topic).  She smiled, and her mother-of-7 eyes lit up and she said, "I would love to be an OB nurse."  I responded, "OB can definitely be interesting," and proceeded to share what I thought was one of the more amusing experiences of my OB professor, dealing with a decidedly nontraditional family.  My acquaintance responded, with a rather stunned look on her face, "I guess what I'd actually love is to be an OB nurse during the millennium".

One of the difficult realities of healthcare that is that, in most contexts, you don't choose your patients.  You don't get to decide who needs your help and care, and often the same kinds of decisions that cause physical distress in individuals also cause chaos in their lives. Physical illness is often the least destructive kind of brokenness in people.  But you treat the combative schizophrenic, the ill-tempered (and noncompliant) alcoholic, and the prisoner who gives you the heebie-jeebies with the same respect and patience that you do the sweet old man whose heart is worn out from a long life of working hard and loving well.  For me, as a Christian and a Latter-day Saint, I see it as a sacred obligation to see in each of these people the same thing: a child of God, who is loved by Him and so should be loved by me, though the degree to which they've recognized and nurtured the Divine spark within may vary widely.

I think that applies to the rest of life.  Choose you this day whom ye will serve, and once you have chosen the Lord, you don't then get to start being picky.  Often, you don't get to choose which mortals you serve: you have covenanted with the Lord to lighten the loads of those he may put in your path, whoever may be bearing them.  You have promised to lift the hands that hang down, and strengthen the feeble knees.  And guess what?  Hands that are hanging down are often unclean, and feeble knees are almost never pretty.

He reached out to prostitute and taught tax collectors--in a regime where they made our IRS agents look beloved. I guarantee you aren't too good for anyone he may put in your path.  Are you good enough? He has given you His love and asked you to share it.  The Atonement may be deeply personal, but it is not yours, and in brokenness there is hope.