What responsibility life lays at our feet! Each of us given a bundle to bare. My vocation – at times – hands me a large portion. It is a blessing, a true honor to be asked to serve. I fret about my business and if we are doing enough “business” which feels quite tacky given that my “business” is the illness and often despair of other human beings. But, if I am not busy enough caring for those sick people then I have to worry about the overhead of the business and the responsibility of 12 employees, their health insurance, their paychecks.
This week is not yet over, Friday’s full schedule lays ahead of me still but this week has been a wallop with an unusually large number of people to whom I have to deliver unpleasant or devastating news. And some of these people have entrusted me with their care for nearly two decades.
And so, when I feel a bit worn and battered, yet a bit ashamed because I am not the actual person receiving the bad news….I do the things that make me feel safe and protected. When my North Florida sky remains dreary, it rains for a fourth day and the temperatures begin to fall again, I want only to be warm and dry. I want comfort food and a small modicum of beauty. I light candles. I treat myself (and the Youngest) to homemade Quattro Formaggi with skillet marinara.
I make some decaf hazelnut coffee for desert. I maybe bake some cookies. I build a fire and pile up with a good book. [I am currently reading book 2 of the All Souls Trilogy]. And I buy a bunch of fresh flowers. The best $6 spent in a very long time.
It was a true wonder to find fresh tulips at the market. And as I get quiet from the day, I pray for my people.
On Monday, while discussing the results of a patient’s admission to the hospital, she confessed that the intensive care doctor terrified her because he “prayed over me”. She asked, “Does he do that to everyone or just me because my situation is hopeless?” I reassured her that many of us pray for our patients but some of us are more open and public about it. She asked me if I was going to pray for her, too. I said, “If I say yes, you will think I also consider your case dire and if I say no, you will think I don’t care at all.” She laughed. Laughter is the very best medicine. After laughter, assurance is quite therapeutic. To know you are safe and that all is well or at least all is accounted for. Very few things in life are assured but this week, my patients (hopefully) are assured that I am invested in their circumstances and that I care.