About a week or so ago I was talking to some girlfriends about work. The subject came up about how long I would work and if medicine would be my only career. It got me thinking about what I might do when they stop letting me show up at the hospital every day. The short version is, I’d make spaghetti.
It’s March. In Oklahoma that means we are getting our first look at severe weather warnings, hours and hours of live shot cloud formations and lightning strikes and reports on damage from such severe weather. Unfortunately, Oklahomans are all too familiar with the aftermath of tornadoes and other severe weather events. Damage, destruction, deaths, devastation. But that’s not all that comes in the aftermath. What also arrives are people and organizations. People and organizations who bring trucks and tools and supplies and food and hands and grace and love. One of the most recognized organizations in disaster response is the American Red Cross.
And that’s where the spaghetti comes in. For as long as I can remember I enjoyed making food in large quantities. I’d get out a big pot or pan and chop and stir and boil and whatever until a great big amount of something was made. It’s problematic when you are a household of 2. So in the first years of our marriage our condo would be full of hungry college students or hungry medical students who would eat and eat and then take food home. Over the years I have learned to taper down and not make enough food to feed the neighborhood. March is Red Cross month. Buildings across the US will be lit up with red lights to honor the 300,000 volunteers who respond to over 60,000 disasters and bring with them life saving food and water. The Red Cross supplies about 40% of the nation’s blood supply. And almost everyone who serves with the Red Cross is a volunteer. Can you believe that?
I can remember being a kid and seeing news coverage of tornado damage in my state. And I remember the trucks. The trucks with a big red cross on the side. And in my mind I would imagine all the volunteers unloading those big pots and pans and making big pots of spaghetti or soup and sandwiches and all I wanted to do was go and stir something with a giant spoon.
Let’s take a moment to honor and support the thousands and thousands and thousands of people who make the American Red Cross go. Maybe they love making giant quantities of food. Maybe they feel a call to make a tangible difference when people are at their most vulnerable point of need. Whatever it is, they have chosen to serve in a disastrous time. So donate blood. Give money. Volunteer. Take a class to learn how to help. Do something now. Don’t wait for a second career.
What will I do when I stop being a gynecologist? I hope whatever it is the Pastor and I are doing we will be serving people in need. And that just might mean climbing out of a big truck and stirring a pot of spaghetti.