Tuesday, March 17, 2015

Learning to Lean

“He is before all things and in him all things hold together” (Colossians 1:17, NIV 2011).

Jackson is one of the first year fellows I am training.
“I need to talk to you today, Dr.___”
“Sure. I’m in the clinic. Come over anytime.”
I stepped out to meet him when I saw him in the hallway. His eyes were watered. His speech was halting. He told me that his mother was deteriorating from advanced disease. He had thought he could complete the year but realized he could not. He had to be with her.
We made the arrangements for him to step out of his training in such a way that he could return and make up the missed weeks. This was an interruption he had not planned and could not avoid.

Either we have been there or our time is coming. Regardless of the path we are on and how well we are moving forward with our plans for life, there will come the interruption that halts it all, or slows us down and makes us turn.
For Jairus, it was the illness of his precious daughter (Mark 5).
For Jackson, it is his mother’s illness.
For you, it may have been the sheriff handing you the malpractice notification, or the spouse telling you, “It’s over,” or the business investment that failed.
Something out of the blue sticks its face in front of you and says, “You are not in control.”
How do we muddle on?
We certainly have to accept life as it is rather than how we had planned it. We certainly have to work our way through the new circumstances with our best efforts to minimize the damage. We certainly must be responsible to honor as best we can the commitments we left behind as well as our new demands.
One thing we should do, but are less likely to do as healthcare professionals, is to lean.
We need to learn to lean on others. Jackson left a ton of patients and work behind him when he left for his mother’s side. His fellow colleagues willingly volunteered to manage those responsibilities for him. Are we willing to lean on our families and friends in facing our own interruptions?
More than that, we need to lean on Jesus.
I’ll probably never forget the words of the theologian, William Sloan Coffin, when he spoke on my college campus many years ago, “Many people say that Jesus Christ is a crutch. Of course He is a crutch; but who …. believes we don’t need a crutch?”
Jesus will not drop us if we lean on Him, but it is up to us to choose which way we lean when we are falling.

Dear Father,
When life interrupts all that I have planned, help me to lean on you.

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