I had a doctor appointment this morning to have my hand checked. About a year ago I had my first visit with Dr. Singer, a hand surgeon, to arrange for a small tumor to be taken out of my palm. Through the course of my surgery and post-operative visits with Dr. Singer we realized our paths may well have crossed some twenty-five years earlier. He had been doing his residency under a pediatric hand surgeon who did the surgeries that Amanda had on both of her hands. Dr. Singer related to me the emotional experiences of his time spent at Children’s Hospital of Detroit. The struggles and pain that he saw families go through touched him deeply as he watched those families either crumble apart or pull together under the strain of the adversity they were facing. I gave him a copy of my book, Amanda, Perfectly Made. Dr. Singer is a very busy man and over the course of several appointments, he kept me updated as he read a little more of the book between each visit. Today he informed me he had finished it – how he loved it – and how another woman in his office was now reading it. Both he and this other woman embarrassed me by praising the book and how wonderful it was. It especially touched Dr. Singer as it reminded him of his early days of being a surgeon and how patients and their families struggle sometimes with challenging medical circumstances. The memories helped him to remember to keep in mind the patient’s perspective and individuality.
I left the doctor’s office with tears in my eyes. As I drove home, I had the radio on and the news stories were all about the memorial activities happening in New York City with it being the twelfth anniversary of 9/11. My heart broke as I remembered the horror and shock of that day. The tears in my eyes threatened even more. I had to stop them so I could drive.
That is the theme for today I guess. And remembering is good. Past experiences, either good or bad, form who we are. Nine eleven was horrible and so many people lost loved ones. But loved ones should not be forgotten. For the people who survived, the memories of friends and family who once influenced their lives are instrumental to whom they have grown to become. Remember. And for Dr. Singer, his recollection of how he once felt so much compassion for patients’ lives and not just their medical needs reminded him of how to be a better doctor.
I know we all have things we’ve done or things that have happened in our past that we’d like to forget. For the most part, we keep those memories buried. But at times, it is important to remember that painful, sad, or embarrassing memory because it can help us to not be so mean or unkind to others today. The good memories we need to share – to keep that memory alive. I just read the other day about how kids who have heard stories from their parents about their grandparents, and things that happened in that parents’ childhood (you know – the “when I was your age” stories) actually grow up with more self-esteem and confidence. The reason why is because they are aware of the past that they came from – that they are part of a bigger picture and legacy than being just a person in the here and now.
As I was leaving the doctor’s office this morning, the woman who was currently reading my book called to me and said, “Oh – here – this was a note from Dr. Singer that was stuck in the book that he wanted you to have.” It reads “Great book – just as I remember.”
2 Peter 1:15 And I will make every effort to see that after my departure you will always be able to remember these things.
Psalm 22:2 All the ends of the earth will remember and turn to the Lord, and all the families of the nations will bow down before him.
Ephesians 1:16 I have not stopped giving thanks for you, remembering you in my prayers.