I have a great group of friends that I run with. They keep me both encouraged and entertained. We often run together on Saturdays; usually between 6 and 12 miles when we are training for a half marathon. We have these unwritten rules for those weekend runs. They’ve developed over many weeks and months. First rule is that what is said on the run stays on the run. You can complain about whomever or whatever you’d like, tell your most embarrassing stories about yourself, brag on your accomplishments and get mad about your failures and it stays there. Second is that no one runs alone. If someone is struggling then another from the group will hang back and make sure they make it to the finish line. The last rule is that someone always brings water. Always.
I didn’t get to run with my friends this week because I injured my right hip. It’s no fun missing out on the weekly run. I was tempted to try and run anyways but truth be told I tried that theory out earlier in the week and it didn’t work out so well…so I will sit out for a week or so and recover and hopefully be ready for the next long run and then the race. So running is on my mind. And so is recovery.
Being a gynecologist is a lot like Saturday run with friends.
No really, hear me out.
First, almost exclusively, what is said in the office stays in the office. I have a duty to report anything like harm to a minor, suicidal ideation and elder abuse. There are a few other caveats but really, what patients tell us we keep. People I know are always surprised when Pastor Jason has no idea that they are my patient or that I haven’t disclosed their pregnancy to him or anyone else. It’s in the rules. Your gynecologist and your pastor are similar in that regard. They both get paid to hold things close to the vest. Sometimes we hear things that need “fixing.” In those cases we try and come up with the best possible intervention. Sometimes just sharing what’s on your mind is relief enough.
The second rule holds true as well for gynecology. No one runs alone on Saturdays and no one should run the steep hills of life alone. I hope my patients know that I will do my best to support them through the sorrows as well as the joy. Pastor Jason has taught me so much about the power of listening to those who are broken and the healing that can occur when you sit with someone who is suffering and really be present.
And finally we all need a source of water. Your body is somewhere around 60% water. So it’s pretty important to survival. But in addition to actual hydration we all need something that fills our cup on a regular basis. Many of my patients are busy working, taking care of their families, spending time being stressed over finances, health or world events. I tell them they need to make time for rest and recovery. For me, I have lots of water stops. Running with friends is one. Dinner with my favorite girlfriends on a monthly basis is another. Jumping on the trampoline with the pastor and our girls is good too. But my main source of refreshment is church. I get a weekly reminder of the unconditional love available to me by God and His people.
I hope you have a running group. First, because exercise is important. But if you prefer the elliptical or yoga or whatever then I hope you have a tribe for your own mental and spiritual health. I hope you have a people in your life who will sit with you and listen, or sit with you in silence. I hope you don’t have to navigate life alone, that someone will come run alongside you. And I hope you have a source of water…and if that source of water includes church, say a prayer for this gynecologists leg to get better soon so she can get back to complaining to her friends on Saturday.