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What Urges Us to Care? | KFP Articles
What Urges Us to Care? PDF Print E-mail
Thursday, 25 October 2012 21:53

I found myself at the annual Medical Conference of the American Association of Medicine and the Person in New Jersey this past weekend asking myself that question.  What urges us to care?  The only administrator in a room full of medical doctors and nurses, I asked myself another related question, a question that opened my heart to my vocation once again.  Why am I here?  This is the question that anyone in the field of health care should ask.  My journey was a long one, from an engineer in New York to a nursing home administrator in Missouri with graduate study in philosophy and ethics.   Sure, along the way I spent time as a caregiver, providing support with basic activities of daily living, but I am not trained in medicine or nursing.  This feeling of being out of place faded as the weekend moved along.  The conference organizers had engaged my heart.

The content of the conference was beautiful beginning with a classical music concert Invasion 14 that narrated a story about the longing of the human heart and conversion.   The opening talks were about research and medicine but in the context of the human heart, in terms of the motivation that drove the presenters to their profession.  This approach preached to my own story, Christ had moved my heart slowly over time towards a field in health care.  It was much more than the career stability of the field that pushed me in its direction.  It was my sense of vocation, commitment to the poor and love of human life.  It was a love educated by a faith born of the heart.  Its this reality, that our heart's innermost desire is to know and love God that drives us, gives us the urge, to care for others.  I learned allot at this conference but I could have learned nothing about medicine and care giving and still have taken back with me the most important piece of knowledge I will encounter in life.  The knowledge that Christ has loved me and given me a vocation that speaks through my heart.   To achieve happiness, we must nurture our heart's desire by following closely behind Christ.

Among the various inspiring stories and presentations I was most moved by the story of Jeromse Lejeune told by his daughter Clara.  I was moved by how his heart touched the lives of the people he met.  Clara writes about it in her biography of her father Life is a Blessing:

Ever since he has been upstairs there have been more and more signs.  The testimonies of his friends, of his patients reveal to us a man whom we didn't know, so discreet he was about his professional life and his vocation as a physician.  A friend whom I had not seen for ten years admitted to me, "I didn't know your father very well, but one day our eyes met, and that day we confided in each other.  Since his death he has been on my mind, and I think about him all the time.  that is all I came to tell you.  I'm here if you need me."

All this who have know him, even if they meet him for only a moment, have not forgotten him.  In France and abroad, we meet women and men who have crossed paths with him only once, but who remember something he said, a smile, a gesture that touched them profoundly.  Signs, there are plenty of them, but Papa didn't like signs.  So we take them as winks that he sends to us in his gentle, humurous way.

To be so selfless day in and day out must truly have been a blessing to his family and friends. 




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