This past Wednesday, I was hit with the stomach flu. You can fill in the details from your own experience, but I spent the day sleeping or dealing with the effects. I was quite miserable, but it turned out to be a gift from God.
Extremely early Thursday morning my husband and I were scheduled to fly to Dallas. He was to be a scholar in residence for one of the local synagogues and then both he and I were to speak at a Jewish day of learning on Sunday. By Wednesday night, when rolling over pretty much used up any energy I could muster, it became clear that my share of the packing was not going to happen. Intellectually I was sure that I would be better the next day, but the thought of getting on an airplane seemed as far-fetched as boarding a spaceship. My husband made the executive decision to cancel my ticket. While I hated the idea of bailing out of a responsibility, there didn’t seem to be any other choice.
Thursday morning, he tiptoed out of our home while I slumbered on.
At this point, the blessing began to kick in. After sleeping late and taking it quiet for the rest of the day, I realized that I would now be in town for my son’s match ceremony on Friday. Throughout the nation, this past Friday was the day that fourth year medical students found out where they would be spending the next few years of their lives.
In a tension filled, drawn out process that dates back to 1952, they spent the months prior researching their chosen fields, flying or driving to interviews and weighing up the programs, locations and their chances of being accepted. A few weeks’ ago they submitted their lists, ranking the various residency programs in order of priority. Meanwhile, the hospitals submitted their own lists, ranking the students they wanted in the order they wanted them. Friday, medical schools held “match” ceremonies, calling up students one by one and handing them an envelope with the key to their futures. My husband and I had been extremely disappointed to be missing this ceremony due to prior obligations, and now, by the grace of God, via the stomach flu, I could attend!
While medical school graduation is still a few weeks away, in many ways the match ceremony is the culmination of the past four years of training. At my son’s school, the envelopes were put in a large box and then randomly drawn out one at a time. Waiting for my son’s name to be called, I watched over 150 young men and women stride up to the stage to music of their personal choosing, and emotionally greet their deans and mentors as they were handed the long-awaited envelope. The support from the room filled with relatives and friends was palpable. Everyone I could see stayed through the whole ceremony, cheering and applauding each student.
This group of bright and hard-working new doctors still has many obstacles and trials ahead of it, but for a few hours the focus was on how far each individual has already traveled. I am so grateful that I could be there.
It is time to get out of your personal Egypt?
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