People tend to ask what life is like up here in Idaho. I mention mountains, the lakes, the friendly people – most of them white (it’s quite homogenous here). But living in Idaho has provided me with five unique opportunities.
- I get to hang out with people radically dedicated to service.
Meet my mentor who discounts his cash patients 70% as a community service, gets paid a pastor’s wage (one third of the average family practice income), and gives away free visits to patients to empower the church to reach the community.
Or meet my friend Josh who took a job at a church working for pennies so he could do health coaching in the community. He lives in church (imagine multiple people having the keys to where you live).
Or my friend with a nursing degree who could be making $30 an hour but instead is making $10 an hour.
They all do this out of a sense of calling. When people like this surround you, it’s inspiring.
- I get to be in a clinic dedicated to having spiritual conversations with patients.
This is my favorite part of the job. I get extra time booked into each visit to do this.
I had a conversation with a Christian woman having a family member who was suing her and her husband. This family member had harassed and insulted her and did everything to emotionally damage her. I was moved to talk to her about forgiveness. Forgiveness is setting somebody free and realizing it was you, I told her. I could see the conviction in her eyes. She went home and prayed with her husband to forgive this family member. At the next visit, I learned the family member had decided to drop the lawsuit. These conversations and stories invigorate me.
- I get to be in a clinic dedicated to lifestyle change.
This is my favorite part of the job (did I say that already?). I’ve found it’s not about talking down to a patient regarding quitting smoking or eating right. Rather it’s uncovering a personal desire and aligning their health goals with it.
The other day I spoke with a man who had quit smoking. I also found out his son in his 20s quit smoking and had come from jail. Your decision to quit smoking exerts an influence on your son, I told him. When you quit smoking and stay off the cigarettes it plants a seed in his heart. He will one day think about quitting smoking because his father quit smoking. These are the types of conversations I seek out for.
- I have enough margin in life to do the things that matter.
I don’t have after hour visits or work weekends. This gives me the time necessary to invest in relationships, sleep, exercise etc. Protecting those margins allows me to inject meaning and purpose in life.
- I get to live with a family.
After coming home to an empty apartment in Los Angeles for three years during residency training, I now come home to a full house (in every sense of the word). I’m living at a place with 4 kids, a mom and dad, grandma, 3 dogs, 2 cats, 1 parakeet, 1 crow, several horses and goats. I eat breakfast with the family every morning and they even pack me a lunchJ
It’s a been a journey and I don’t know how it ends but I’m trusting my Heavenly Father and enjoying the ride.