I was leaving my hotel yesterday to travel to the airport. My cab driver was not born in this country. He was very friendly and I’m sure he worked long hours and had to deal with some crazy people…a life I can identify with. As we left the downtown area we passed a woman with a baby in a stroller holding a sign reading “homeless and hungry .” The cab driver rolled down his window and handed her some cash. I was floored. I’m assuming he didn’t have a lot of disposable income (I could be wrong) but he made a choice to give to someone he assumed was in need more than himself.
I would characterize this behavior as living without fear. I think most of us live somewhere between fear and pain. Or maybe in the midst of both. We live in fear of what the future might hold. Will there be enough? Will I be enough? We live in pain of what has happened in the past. What we have done, we has been done to us and what has been left undone. We are held in the tight grip of being afraid of what others will think and in the pain of rejection from those around us. I am complicit in this thinking. I’m not sure how we arrived as a culture that moves through life in fear of what might face us in the future and in pain from what we have faced in the past.
The two photos in this post are my kids immersed in the world of medicine. Tubes in the small ones ears and wrist fracture for the big one. I was fortunate enough to have them both cared for by people I love and respect. By coincidence only, Pastor Jason was unavailable for both of these moments. I remember, though, handing my kids over into the arms of people I trusted not only to do their best but to absorb their fears and take away their pain. Now, I know in medicine we are not always successful in these endeavors. We work to relieve pain and fear but are not always able to achieve either goal. But I think as health care providers we really want our patients to be at peace. We want them to find comfort and hope in our visits.
How do we get to a place where we are living without fear of the future and without dwelling on the pain of the past? For me, I try to have my faith overcome my fear. My God and His people have gotten me this far in life, right? I have been listening to a new version of the old song “It is well.” To be honest, I used to hate the song. Mostly because it wasn’t well. For most of us there will be times when life just isn’t well. Not with our minds, not with our bodies, not with our souls. And I don’t believe that reciting “it is well” over and over, no matter how well sung, brings about some kind of magic that makes all things right. But now as I listen I can’t help but think about what it means to live in the “it is well” world. And how do we ensure “it is well” for those around us. When my cab driver leaned out the window and handed that cash to the woman on the street, he was trying to ensure “it is well” with her. When my friends take great care to comfort and heal my kids with their hard work and patiently learned skills, they are trying to ensure “it is well” for both me and my children. When the people in my church community reach out to their neighbor and into the neighborhood around us to provide hope and meet needs, we are trying to ensure “it is well” with them.
I think to live in a place with as little fear of the future and pain of the past is to find a place where you are surrounded by a community who is trying their best to ensure “it is well” with you.