The Product of a Perfect Pause

Text: Ephesians 6:18 - "Praying always with all prayer and supplication in the Spirit, and watching thereunto with all perseverance and supplication for all saints;"

Being a physician, especially a primary care physician, most of my ordinary day is spent having conversations with people, getting to know them a bit, to hopefully be more capable at knowing how to direct them toward options, how to contextualize their health issue or introduce a remedy, how to advise, across a wide range of personality types, with wide-ranging experiences.  You learn how to enter tender matters, like death and dying, and how to address the inappropriate and appropriate worries people bring, as well as the inappropriate and appropriate calm some have.  Conversations, one exam room to the next, can range from the light-hearted to the very dark, and you learn, and continue to learn how to have those conversations, with an actionable outcome, in 15 to 20 minutes.  This part of the work makes up the majority of time spent, even with technology nearby.  Part of the work includes documentation of what is discussed, although it would be rare data entry to mention a postural change, a brief grimace, an unexpected vocal inflection, or the moistening of a pair of eyes.  We all are raised to some degree, to be relational, and to value communications [verbal and non-verbal] and it factors into having these conversations.  None of us, however, are naturally prepared to put our eyes, ears, and hands to do the work of figuring out someone else's body, which brings us to what makes up another part of the day- the physical exam.

I cannot remember, as a medical student, my first effort at examining a stranger, but we all would make rounds, with someone experienced, who would demonstrate the 'how to', and like anything else, some were good teachers, and some, were just plain curious.  We all, however, begin the journey of an examiner with zero experience, seeing those very young and very old, male and female, gay and straight, healthy and sick, educated and uneducated, mentally well and mentally disturbed across all ethnic, racial, philosophical, economic, and religious characteristics, examining often from front to back, from top to toes, to include the mentionable and the unmentionable parts, done each and every day.  Some are strangers, and some are known well, and some are strangers that become friends. Some may even be family members or old friends. As your own journey goes, as a doctor, you occasionally get to experience the exceptional, to bring us to one whom I examined, who had beautiful legs, and not those of my wife.--

We all learn what makes for beauty.  This patient, I have seen for years, going back to when balancing and walking was easier, and there was better eyesight, but due to a genetic, neurodegenerative condition, things worsened as it had for other family members, now permitting this sixty-year-old to be very dependent, no longer having sight, coordination, or balance. A niece would provide transportation, schedule appointments, help with personal affairs, and push the wheelchair that Lawrence relied on.  Yes, Lawrence had beautiful legs.  How so?  Well, you see for decades, he was a praying man.  He knelt and prayed much, so much so that the skin of his knees, became coarse, rough like leather, dark, and thick from the challenge of kneeling.  Despite decades of predictably declining ability, his demeanor, his attitude, was consistently kindly and pleasant, without complaint.  He was, and is a living testimony. Given more than thirty years of examining people, I had never seen knees like his, beautiful.  

As embraced as the book of Ephesians is, clarifying our election and adoption by grace, our salvation by grace alone, our role as the church, the hope and thrust of unity, the call to powerfully love, and the Christian obligation, we have that familiar chapter six finalizing those grand chapters with it's 155 verses, having us don the whole armor of God, having us to stand, it's anchoring and all-encompassing armor being prayer, stirring with life in verse 18, urging that we PRAY ALWAYS, that with all manner of praying we PRAY IN THE SPIRIT, and that we PRAYERFULLY KEEP WATCH.  Jesus, as our example, took prayer into the garden of Gethsemane, His heart and soul in every word, His prayer life as key a part of Him as His flesh and bones, knowing of His soon-to-be death [for us].

Cultivated beyond self, prayer is essential, whether loud or quiet, whether word-filled or wordless.
O' were the church to be a thankful church, a God-adoring church, a confessing church, a sure church unafraid to hope big and ask God, how might our precious world change?
Dear Lord, make it so, and let it begin with me.

Prayer:  Our Father, which art in heaven, hallowed be Thy name.  Thy kingdom come.  Thy will be done on earth as it is in heaven.  Give us this day our daily bread, and forgive us our debts as we forgive our debtors.  And lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from evil.  For Thine is the kingdom and the power and the glory, forever. Amen and amen.

(by Dr. McNeal Brockington)  






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