As a physician, I have sworn to cure the sick, provide comfort and preserve life. If a patient dies under my care, have I forsaken my duties? Not if I have discharged my functions diligently and with utmost care. Yet I remember vividly when I was in training, I felt overwhelming guilt every time a patient would pass away. I felt like I have failed miserably.
The Paradigm Shift
When I became an oncologist, the phrase “the doctor as healer” was given a new meaning. At the beginning of my training, I almost quit. I thought that what I was doing did not quite fit into my concept of a doctor when patients would not turn out the way we wanted them to. I thought that what I was doing was futile and pointless.
Fortunately, I persisted. Along the way, I picked up a totally different but more meaningful definition of hope and healing.
My definition of Healing
Healing is not necessarily banishing physical illness but graciously accepting “what is”. Healing is about receiving and accepting the grace of finding peace and joy in the midst of very difficult and life-changing situations.
Healing is about choosing not to live in fear nor blame nor anger nor asking “why me, why now” but instead deciding to carry on despite the circumstances.
Healing is about making fond memories instead of leaving behind memories of pain and suffering especially during the last days.
Healing is about letting go of our need for control of our circumstances.
Healing is about holding on to the present not the past nor the future.
The Ultimate Hope
Hope lies not in changing people and circumstances but in changing our minds.
Hope lies in rediscovering “who we are” and living according to that person.
Hope lies not in fear of losing but in finding serenity in chaos and embracing the cycles of life.
Hope lies in going back to basics in how we live and unlearning those things that we have been led to believe.
Hope lies not in what will happen in the future but in living now and being present in the moment-to-moment choices that we make.
We are all capable of healing…..although not always in the manner that we want to.