In high school, I had lead small groups and delivered many a sermon to peers and younger kids. Most of my life in school and out of school revolved around church or mentorship. The only college I applied to was a Christian school in Fresno, and of all things what sealed the deal for me was hearing their choir. I knew that if I could be a part of such an incredible group of singers, then I would definitely be serving the Lord with the best of me.
After a year of Bible classes and two rejections from the choir, I began to wonder what I was on Earth for. Having no income and nothing to eat on the weekends, I was lucky enough to find work study as a security guard. Part of the job was to be the on-site medical personnel, so I went to an EMT class over the summer between my first and second year. It was a great program, taught by a crusty old Paramedic with more horror stories than I had ever imagined. One day in particular I remember best. He came to the front of the class and showed us accidents that he had seen. Cars and bodies mangled and disfigured in ways I could never have imagined possible. Watching us cringe, he put down the remote to the slide show.
“Hey, what are you all cringing at? Does this gross you out?” he barked at us. We quickly shifted from mild amusement and disgust to solemn and quiet. He continued, “These are people who need help. They need someone who is going to step up and help. Why are you cringing? Are you injured? Is it your arm that is broken? Are you the one in pain? NO! You are fine. This is not YOUR emergency. So, stop reacting to people in need, and start responding!”
I was floored. I was surprised. I was hooked.
For me, teaching people about Jesus always started with an unfair power dynamic where the Christian came to the one needing saving and basically explained that everything they know and everyone they love is wrong. The only way to avoid a life of loneliness and emptiness and after-life of pain and suffering is to verbalize that Jesus is your Savior and tithe 10%. Often, those without Jesus and those with Jesus are indistinguishable, and if people need Him they aren’t sure why or what for. In Ministry, I reacted to people’s situations and needs. I generalized groups, felt I belonged to a generalized group, and found comfort in knowing that knowing isn’t part of the plan or purpose of my life. All I have to do is follow Jesus, and help others follow Jesus.
In Medicine, knowing is critical. The discipline of humility and honesty are paramount to delivering life-saving care. The person needing saving is well aware of their problem, as an angulated appendage is difficult to put through the sleeve of a button down. The power dynamic is not critical or judgmental, but instead founded in a sense of service to others. If you need increased blood pressure, I’ll do compressions. If you are losing too much blood, I’ll plug the hole for you. Now when I do a great job, the results are right in front of me. And in medicine, the “Saved” are baptized in wires, IV Lines, and the glistening sweat of their vagaled and poorly perfused body. To be clear, I do not bring people back from the dead. And as you have read in previous posts, it doesn’t actually work that often. What I do is open a door, and let God decide. I give a person and God an opportunity to discuss what they want to do. And sometimes, they get a second chance. As far as I know, that is about as live changing a thing as any.
I came to college hoping to serve God by teaching people about his Son and how to be followers of Him. I left college hoping to serve patients by teaching them about health and the management of their diseases, and how to be followers of their care plan. In the absolute truth, God is everywhere. And the argument of existence or relevance or pertinence is simply that, an argument. I will admit that we haven’t talked like we used to. Like an estranged son, I left the flock and in my dark corner of the world I hope I honor Him in this practice, knowing in my heart I could never have honored him by simply reacting. The church is where sinners go to be cleansed, hospitals are where the sick and injured go to be cared for. The numerous overlaps between the church and hospital have helped the transition away from salvation focused to healing focused.
Frankly, your soul is yours. And no matter what you believe, you will not be long for this earth. If you want more time to think about it, I recommend taking your insulin and blood pressure meds like the doctor told you.