HERE’S a powerfully captivating story:
A doctor entered the hospital in a hurry after being called for an urgent surgery. He immediately changed his clothes and went directly to the surgery block. He found the boy’s father going and coming in the hall waiting for the doctor. Once seeing him, the dad yelled:
“Why did you take all this time to come? Don’t you know that my son’s life is in danger? Don’t you have the sense of responsibility?”
The doctor smiled and said: “I am sorry, I wasn’t in the hospital and I came the fastest I could after receiving the call. Now, I wish you’d calm down so that I can do my work.”
“Calm down? What if your son was in this room right now, would you calm down? If your son dies now, what will you do?” said the father angrily.
The doctor smiled again and replied: “I will say what Job said in the Bible, ‘From dust we came and to dust we return, blessed be the name of God’. Doctors cannot prolong lives. Go and intercede for your son, we will do our best by God’s grace.”
“Giving advice when we’re not concerned is so easy,” the father murmured.
The surgery took some hours, after which the doctor went out happy, “Thank God! Your son is saved!”And without waiting for the father’s reply, he carried on his way running, “If you have any question, ask the nurse!”
“Why is he so arrogant? He couldn’t wait some minutes so that I can ask about my son’s state,” commented the father when seeing the nurse minutes after the doctor left.
The nurse answered, tears coming down her face: “His son died yesterday in a road accident, he was in the burial when we called him for your son’s surgery. And now that he saved your son’s life, he left running to finish his son’s burial,” END OF THE STORY.
What’s the moral of the story? There are two, as can be deduced from the two characters – the father and the doctor.
The first one is easy to discover, that is, from the point-of-view of the father: Never judge anyone, because you never know how their life is and what they’re going through.
But, I am more impressed with the calm and uppermost commitment to his calling shown by the doctor in our story – which to me is the more important message of the story.
Despite the tragic death of his son, the doctor did not waver in his sworn duty to attend to the surgical emergency at the hospital.
Palpably, such exemplary demonstration of unbridled dedication to one’s calling can find its resonance to our present day doctor-heroes who are on a round-the-clock chore on Covid patients. Hurray, as I doff my hat to our medical frontliners!
Verily, tragedies do not at all diminish our calling, our purpose, or our personhood. Tragedies and challenges can even teach us to care for others. While we are wont to ask “Why me?” in the middle of our tragedies, this reflexive soul-searching can lead us to think, empathize, and care for others who are similarly situated.
Yes, while pain and struggles are part and parcel of life, they too are opportunities for growth – and the best thing we can gain from challenges is not the thing we want, but the “person” we become in the process.
Indeed, in sum, tragedies and challenges do not in any way diminish who we are – that is, having been completely and equally created by God, with dignity and purpose, and worthy of a meaningful and satisfying life.