Tuesday, August 16, 2011


[caption id="" align="aligncenter" width="500" caption="Image via The Race Equity Project"][/caption]

Sacrifice.  We see it all around us.  Some are obvious: a pregnant woman, a soldier doing his tour of duty over seas, a busy student doing their best to get by.  Others are hidden: a single parent playing all roles, the spouse/partner of the overseas soldier and/or busy student, parents in poverty stricken areas trying to keep their kids safe.

It is the second day of school, and I'm getting a small sample of what the rest of the year will look like.  No different, really, than undergrad and two full-time jobs.  Hard but not impossible.  I am quietly shifting our broken routine from a busy yet schedule-free summer to a rigid and understanding daily routine.   Lonely memories creep into my psyche as I trudge through the grind.

Each step, I remember a previous one.  Not so long ago, the days were full of despair and I was frightened to wake up the next morning, alone, with my children.

Sure I have my moments, but life has changed.  Happiness has replaced sorrow; energy the tiredness.  It's remarkable, really, to start a new year with hope and excitement.

I could attribute much to my medications.  They saved me.  Literally.  I went from suicidal--not to scare anyone, but it is the truth--to embracing each new day.  Knowing if I make mistakes, they won't ruin the rest of my time here on Earth.

Most of it, really, comes from finding new meaning to life.  A new purpose.  I don't muse on how I can't change the world, I make a plan and focus on the little things: volunteering in shelters, helping a friend, contributing my talents to a needy community.   I am using creativity--a word I would never have attached to myself.

We came to this medical school because it has a history of being family-oriented.  I have met many people who have already become dear, and hopefully, life-long friends.  But the further we get into things, the more my mind considers how I might make a difference.   I thought I'd want to get involved with the school, but the activities seem menial.  The focus too much on entertainment and not enough on issues, the things that I am passionate about.

Don't get me wrong, a good support network is essential to get through medical school.  For me and for Ben.  However, that isn't all life is about.  I can't live in my privileged bubble without considering the needy, the tired, the hungry, the poor.   Images pop into my mind of women all over the world being taken advantage of and children being neglected.  While I used to hide from these painful thoughts, I have recently allowed them to consume me.

And this is where my greater purpose comes in.  The void I've felt is being filled.  Not with religion, like some would believe, but with compassion.  With fire.  With zeal.  I don't believe in a God (at least I'm still coming to terms with how I view God), but I do believe in people.  I know that I can help the suffering.  Not just by donating food, but by donating my time.  My love.  My money.  Not just to charities, but in ways that are undefinable.

I don't need a nice car, nice clothes, nice furniture, or a nice home.  The space we are currently residing in has more rooms than we can fill.  And I don't want to fill them.  I want them to stay empty so I can donate the extra things to people who really need them.

There are some sacrifices that aren't painful.


  1. Intresting that you had to lose your religion to find religion, in my mind. Taking care of each other, the needy the poor, reaching out giving of your time is what i believe my religion has taught me to do more then anything. Once we get outside of ourselves and our own issues we find God and the reason he put us here on earth together-to answer each others prayers and be His hands. I believe just the opposite it seems of you - life being human being here and surrounded by sorrows doesn't can't will never make sense without a God at the head of it.

  2. I'm so glad you are feeling better, and glad you are finding things that fill your void. I love the concept of creativity and the process of each person figuring out what his/her creative energy and gifts and passionsn can be used for.

  3. Yes! I am switching my mentality as well, and you describe it vividly. I am also purging my life and my house of all the unhappiness, as well as passing on all the extra "stuff" that I never really needed in the first place. Thanks for sharing this.

  4. Time and love often go far. As Bruce <a href="http:// (http://PrivilegeofParenting.com)" target="_blank"> <a href="http://(http://PrivilegeofParenting.com)" target="_blank">(http://PrivilegeofParenting.com) has said: "Giving is the best cure for not having."

    And in ur case, I would say that giving is also part of the good heart you have, and awareness of your many blessings.

  5. “If you wish to experience peace, provide peace for another.”
    Tenzin Gyatso, The 14th Dalai Lama

    This giving that you described in your post, reminds me of the above sentiment. I am happy that you've found energy to look outside yourself and practice your new found awareness.


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