Not Sure What To Think


I had something a little different happen to me yesterday. I’m working nights this week so am sleeping from about 7 AM to about 2-2:30 PM. As I woke up I lay there praying. Into The Wild has caused me to re-examine how I view people. Chris McCandless saw every encounter with another person as a moment in time that he should savor, that he shouldn’t miss a moment, that he could be helped, that he could help. I haven’t really done a very good job of seeing other people this way.

I am a physician so come into contact with people of all walks of life regularly. Over the 15 or so years I’ve been doing this, I’ve become jaded. To be honest most encounters to me seem to be a nuisance. I seem to be irritated that people are sick sometimes. Of course sometimes the workload is just overwhelming and I feel like it is crushing me, but even in the slow times patients and sickness have equaled nuisance. I’ve been praying for some time, more since my interest in this story has been rekindled, that God would help me see people as Christ sees them, opportunities to offer grace, to love, to learn. My hope has been that maybe even I could come to a place where I look forward to those encounters as opportunities to be Christ, to spread his kingdom a little bit more, to be involved in his work in the world.

As I was praying these things, I felt the darkness in the room close around me in a comforting way and that merged into a vision of Christ holding me in his arms, like a lover would hold his beloved, like Karmen holds me. I had a sense of peace and happiness. I also had a sense of what in the world is going on here and tried to pull back but felt Christ reassure me and continue to hold me. It all lasted about 2-3 minutes.

I’m not quite sure what to make of it. It sure felt real. I’m going to think it was real. I can’t get it off my mind. It is just the thing I needed too as I start another night of admitting patients to various hospitals. Probably some will think I need to talk to a certain kind of professional.

I’d love to hear your thoughts.


6 responses to “Not Sure What To Think

  1. Doug,

    There is a strong Biblical/spiritual formation principle of intentionally looking for “Christ” in others i.e. that message of Jesus that “to do it to the least” is doing it to him. But more than focusing on how we can just see more acts of charity that someone needs, it is actively looking for the holy in other people and that shifts us from experiencing them as an “It” to be a “Thou.”

    As someone who has been a patient, being objectified as an “it” in a medical settings where most of us feel powerless anyway, is a shaming experience. At the same time, I want my medical professionals to have the objectivity to not allow emotions to cloud their judgement.

    Distancing from a patient without objectifying them has to be a challenging task. Allow it to be a tool you use rather than a life-style.

    You would find Nouwen’s book Wounded Healer an interesting read. Your pastor may have it. It’s language is stale when he refers to the culture in which he wrote; just subsitiute “post-modern man” and it will fit. He has some interesting things to share about healing and being hospitable.

  2. God loves us with a pure and holy love. Surely he must be pleased when he can touch us with that great love. And maybe I’m too busy and noisy most of the time. Quiet moments in his presence are to be cherished.

  3. I want you to be encouraged tonight….or maybe it’s morning? I want you to know that I am so proud of you. I’m proud of the way you have pushed yourself. I KNOW how hard it has been for you.

    I’m so thankful that we have grown throughout this past year together… closer towards each other AND at the same time. I really think that’s a miracle that this has all happened at similar times in both of our lives. It has been so helpful to have you by my side.

    Be encouraged. You just have tonight and one more night and then you’ll be able to relax a little. We’ll plan to do some fun things next week. Have a good rest of the night and I’ll see you in a few hours. Love you!

  4. freestyleroadtrip

    It is so great to have a woman like you in my life. You are so sweet. I love your encouragement. Thanks for noticing me. Yoohoo, I am almost done. Next week will be fun.


  5. the moment is the sole reality. thach nich hahn (i know i butchered the spelling of this glorious monk) I love the emphasis on treating every encounter as a moment in time to be savored. I’m so much happier when I do this. I also love your experiment with it and your honesty with it. And I love your meditation and the gift you received. Beautiful. I’m going to read it again.

  6. freestyleroadtrip

    Matches, thanks for your sensitivity to this way of looking at things. It is obvious to me that you soak up life to the max. Thanks for being an example for me.


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