NaBoPoMo 2021: Do Good, Kid
My friend Liz is amazing.
We met just as I was leaving my last practice 7 years ago, and I knew right away I had to grow this relationship. She is an elder sister in the profession—a wise, compassionate, generous, empathic, smart, thoughtful, and loving physician and teacher. After I had the privilege of presenting to her and her amazing colleagues on physician burnout (really, they schooled me that day), Liz showed me the inner world of primary care in a correctional facility. We toured incredibly aged buildings. Liz explained the frustrating limitations of working in a jail environment and the difficulties arranging optimal follow up when detainees are released. But most of all, she showed me what true, deep respect for every person’s dignity, no matter how vulnerable, looks like. Holy cow, I will never forget that day.
Liz is also a deeply spiritual person. She wrote the chapter on spiritual resources for Jewish healthcare professionals in Judaism and Health. After our day together at the jail, we kept trying to meet again. I wanted to learn more about Judaism and how she lived it—personally, professionally, and in community. But my kids were little and the weather was bad on the nights we planned to meet, or something would come up, or- or- or… It just never worked out. But as physicians of deep faith, we both always knew we would connect again someday.
We kept in touch all these years mostly through occasional emails, and then YAY Facebook, especially the Physician Moms Group! By far the most valuable thing about social media is sharing photos and reading life updates. It really makes you feel like you’re in your friends’ lives up close, going through all the ups and downs, sharing joys and sorrows, witnessing from afar. When I posted recently about a freak out I had over Daughter’s anaphylactic food allergy, Liz reached out.
We met in her neighborhood, which happens to be my old college stomping grounds. We walked all over campus and caught up, shared stories, commiserated, and bonded, just like we always knew we would. I got a copy of the book with a bonus printout of her favorite poem, “The Seven of Pentacles” by Marge Piercy. I will return the love with my favorite book of poems so far, To Bless the Space Between Us by John O’Donohue.
The space between us, indeed. So near, just across town, yet so far, 7 years, and yet so near still, always connected in spirit through the years, light and strong, like dental floss or fishing line… We stayed connected, patiently, faithfully, knowing that divinity operates on its own schedule, and that when we could finally meet again, it would be powerful and lovely.
And so it was.
It will not be another 7 years, this we know. And it was well worth the wait.