Monday, July 16, 2012

"Green" Healing Agents


The earth is the Lord’s, and everything in it,
    the world, and all who live in it;
Psalm 24:1 (NIV)

A modern social virtue has been identified in the “green” movement.  How do we act as good stewards of the resources entrusted to us?   There are a lot of answers that address those resources that are external to us; but what about us, what sustains us?  
Whether we are in ministry or medicine, our communities have invested a great deal in our training and support.  How do we most effectively, efficiently and sustainably care for this investment?  In reality, most of the effort has been in addressing the “unsustainable”.   What hasn’t been addressed is what is sustains us as healing agents.
In the soon to be published book, “Equipping Healing Agents: Sustaining Vocation” the gifts that we have received as a part of God’s creation are addressed.  It is not a self-help or book on professionalism.  It is about a wider view of what has been given to us as we follow our vocation and how those gifts sustain us.  

Tuesday, July 3, 2012

Vocation & Retirement

“Remembering Forward”
“Who do we want to be?”
On Being with Krista Tippett

“It's a poor sort of memory that only works backwards,' says the White Queen to Alice.” ― Lewis Carroll, Alice's Adventures in Wonderland & Through the Looking-Glass

 Brothers and sisters, each person, as responsible to God, should remain in the situation they were in when God called them.
1 Corinthians 7:24 New International Version (NIV)

“You are retired?” is the most common question when I meet colleagues that I haven’t seen recently.   It is a reasonable question since most of my medical school colleagues are retired.   The better question for me is what does vocation look like at the end of full-time practice?

There are a lot of books about retirement and even some studies regarding surgeons.   It seems to me that approaching the question from a vocational perspective is different than most of the books and the studies of physicians.  A report from physician Dr.  N. Thomas Connally gives us his personal and vocational account of retirement. (Select this report by clicking on it to see his video report.)

Vocational questions mandate looking back at the “direction of your life” and naming the “call”.  The good news is that “age” gives us the benefit of seeing our story and its themes.  Sometimes we find the answers and examples in other vocations.  The CD “Paul Simon Songwriter” is a wonderful summary of the vocation of Paul Simon.   We would not even think of asking the question, “When are you going to retire?”   He will always be “Paul Simon Songwriter”.

For me the question of retirement from being an actively practicing physician does not have vocational meaning.    The real question is not retirement but vocation.   What new aspects of my vocation do I need to address?   What are the missing pieces that have yet to be mastered?  I have come to believe that my “call” has not changed even if full time practice stops.  



Luce EA. The ageing surgeon. [Review] Plastic & Reconstructive Surgery.  127(3):1376-83, 2011 Mar.