This month I’m getting married. One of my patients must have found out prior to her appointment with me. She gave me a big hug and said, I heard something special is about to happen to you. Her smile was ear to ear. She went on to tell me what happiness she had in her married of life of 30 years. She said, If you have even a fraction of the happiness I had you will be so blessed.
That month we were trying to wean her off her antidepressants. The timing couldn’t have been worse. Her husband passed away unexpectedly shortly thereafter. She told me how it was the little things she missed – his sweet response after she calling out to him, the comfort in holding his hand.
Tears streamed down both our faces now. I couldn’t imagine what it would be like to lose someone after 30 years of blissful living.
As I reflect on the whole process of falling in love I see how it has made me a better doctor in the following 3 ways.
1. Falling in love has increased my capacity for empathy with patients
I’ve gone through a fundamental human experience so many of my patients go through: heart break and falling in love. Empathy is about making the patient experience personal to you. I can tap into my own story to access a patient’s emotions.
2. Falling in love deepened my trust in God
After residency, my engagement broke off and I found myself moving to Northern Idaho. I remember praying, God? I’m worried if I’m ever going to get married if I’m in the middle of nowhere. But God has surprising ways of answering our deepest longing. The areas of anxiety are the opportunities to deepen trust our trust in him.
3. Falling in love cemented my purpose to live simply, sacrificially and servant-like
The person you marry, I believe, is intricately connected to your destiny. I couldn’t shake the calling to living a life at a pastor’s wage and in a garage. But the last 2 years have truly been the best years of my life. The words of my soon-to-be wife haunt me, If you lived in a big house and drove a fancy car, I don’t think I would have been able to marry you. My choice to live a simpler, sacrificial life somehow translated into receiving the biggest blessing I’ve ever had: Getting to marry the woman of my dreams.
This month I’m getting married. And I can’t wait.