Sunday, December 7, 2008

When Passion Meets Talent

There is a moment in some peoples lives were god given talent and passion mesh to create something beautiful and unique. Those who are lucky enough to experience this rare gift have a special power. The power to change the world.

I was born thinking medicine was my passion. From the earliest ages I can remember wanting to be a Doctor. I have no idea where it came from. I have no idea how it grew. But it was my goal. It was my dream. Most of my waking moments were consumed by it. It didn't matter that I had a learning disability. It didn't matter that I almost had to stay back a grade. All hurdles were temporary. All surpassable.

And so I spent my youth on this goal. I expended countless sums of money. Studied for hours without reprieve. Worked excessively long shifts without sleep. I did whatever it took.

And I succeeded. I finished medical school and residency and began living my dream. But something was missing. Maybe it was the paperwork. Maybe the sadness of watching people die and being helpless. Maybe the anger so commonly directed towards physicians which often felt unjustified.

Being a physician no longer ignited me...no longer set my heart on fire. But something did. Strangely and unexpectedly it was writing. First poetry and then stories. It would wake me up in the middle of the night and force me to turn on the light and jot down a word or phrase so that I wouldn't forget in the morning. And I was happy...at least sort of.

Friday was a perfect example. In the morning waiting for me in my in basket were rejections from four publications refusing my poetry. They all came on the same day. I can't say it was unexpected. Anyone who has submitted poetry for consideration knows that rejection is just part of the process. You have to develop a thick skin they say.

So I was down as I made my way to the hospital. One of my partner's patients had been in and out of the inpatient service for months. She was a mystery. Several hospitalizations, and specialists, and cat scans later my partner still wasn't sure what to do with her. As I reviewed the data and finished my examination everything clicked. I knew that I caught something that everyone else had missed. So I made a few changes and added a key medication and within 24 hours she was better. It might take some time but I know she will recover.

On my way home yesterday it hit me like a ton of bricks. I always say that each person has a gift and if we are lucky we find it while there is still time to act. For years I have been searching for my gift. I was hoping it would be poetry. In reality it isn't. It's medicine....medicine is the one thing I am truly gifted at. Medicine is what I was meant to spend my life doing.

I am the luckiest man on earth. I have a wonderful wife and children. I have a job and enough money to live. And now I have found my calling. My one offering to humanity. But sadly....somewhere in the process after all those years of yearning, and striving, and working...I've lost my passion for it.

Gift and passion. Passion and gift. Somehow they've missed each other so far in my life. But what if....what if for just a moment I could realign them again.

Oh the the things I could accomplish!

4 comments:

rlbates said...

So beautifully written! Thanks

tracy said...

i wish i knew what to say...sometimes your writing is so eloquent, it leaves me without words.

Ami Chopine said...

People don't always have just one calling. You can take your medicine to more people with your writing, like you do. Maybe it won't be a poetry publication, but a book on insights about being a doctor.

Anonymous said...

I highly recommend the "Joyful Wisdom: Embracing Change and Finding Freedom" by Yongey Mingyur Rinpoche. If you read this book with an open mind, I am certain that you will find what being missing from your life.