Hope, my daughter,is the young lady in the coral and blue dress
I knew I had a unique perspective in the room as each of these young people walked across the stage to receive their white coat. I doubt if even a few people in the audience had been the subject of “grand rounds.” Thinking back on that experience, never wanted to be there but there I was, with the young doctors listening to my case history. I’ll like to say something profound. But all I experienced was a numb, coldness and I kept my eyes on the white, shiny floor. It felt like an out of body experience. God protected me from any of it really going “in” as they moved through their rounds.
Back to real time, at the ceremony, they spoke so directly to these young doctors of vulnerability of their patients and their sole end was to heal and comfort. They spoke highly of the dignity and courage of those fighting to be well. And then three things happened. . .
1. I was overwhelmed with pride for my daughter and her vocation. I felt her hard work and perseverance through my disease cut right through me. I felt deep gratitude for her often gut wrenching commitment to healing the sick.
2. It came to me with lightening clarity, that one day in the future, one of these young doctors-to-be might cure ALS. Or at the very least when they give the diagnosis, “I’m sorry, the results all confirm it is ALS, but this is what we have to offer you in the way of treatment.” “They just came up with what they hope is a cure.”
3. Then I flashed back. two years, to the young neurology resident that was working up my case. . . .on the day of my diagnosis, I went pale and began to shake. She leaped, and I mean a full jump over the hospital bed between us to hold my hands and to hold my eyes in hers. I could not receive her in my pain, but her gesture of compassion will remain with me all my days. That’s what a doctor is. . . To the other doctors present I was just another ALS diagnosis, but to her (sweet red headed. blue-eyed lass) I was a vulnerable person ll with desire for health. What a git of grace and mercy her act of compassion was in my moment of need.
I participated in Hope’s white coat ceremony in great depth as her witness. I had a unique perspective to where she is going and who needs her there. I felt my dear daughter was growing into her name, “Hope” as she grows into her white lab coat.
God, thank you, thank you, thank you with my deepest gratitude, I was there, to witness this chunk of her life. If only every parent in that room could really know the privilege of their witness with their young adults. Amen