Monday, February 13, 2006

Dr. Jim's Advice

As I have mentioned before, I have a younger brother who is a dermatology resident. Jim is not only technically brilliant, but he has a healer's touch by nature, and is clearly on his way to becoming a great physician. And he can always talk me "down from the ledge" any time I call him with any concerns or fears. It's so cool, since this is wise doctor is the "kid" I grew up with (and tormented frequently), who is almost six years younger than me. My mom used to interrupt our spats as kids by reminding me that friendships will come and go, but family will always be family, so we should be nice to each other. I am very fortunate that Jim will always be my brother. On top of his other traits, he is obviously very forgiving!

Shortly after my neurosurgery, when I was particularly worried about something, Jim (as always) gave me some very good advice. He reminded me that my doctors are the ones who are supposed to be handling my medical situation. It's their job. My job is to give them the input they need, so that they can do their job. I often tend to find just enough information to be dangerous, and I would worry about things that may or may not need to be worried about. But when I took his advice, it got a lot easier. I have two great oncologists who have amazing communication channels, so it's easy for me to put the burden of my medical questions and concerns on them. It's their job to handle it, and they have the training and the skill and the experience that they need in order to do that. So it's great advice, and it saves me a lot of extra concern.

I was reminded of an interesting parallel while reading the scriptures. By the way, I have taken many different approaches to personal scripture study. Sometimes I just pick a book and start with Chapter One and plow on through. Sometimes I go to my Topical Guide reference, and pick a topic ("faith", "healing", "hope", or whatever), and read whatever is there on that topic. And sometimes I just kind of browse through and look for something to pop out at me. The latter was my recent experience. (I'm always amazed at how relevant those "pop-out" scriptures can be. I always think it's a tender mercy moment.) I ended up in the fourth chapter of Phillipians, which included the following:

"Be careful for nothing; but in every thing by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known unto God. And the peace of God, which passeth all understanding, shall keep your hearts and minds through Christ Jesus."

In the footnotes I found translations for "be careful for nothing" as, "Don't be unduly concerned about anything"; or "Be afflicted by nothing". Paul is basically talking us down from the ledge by letting us know that instead of being agitated over things, we should turn our problems over to God. It is His job to take care of His children, and He is supremely qualified and skilled and experienced in how to do that. It is our job to give the input, and as Paul says, we should do it "by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving".

I also found in my footnotes some related scriptures:

  • Psalms 55:22 "Cast thy burden upon the Lord, and he shall sustain thee..."
  • Proverbs 16:3 "Commit thy works unto the Lord, and thy thoughts shall be established."
  • Matthew 6:25 - 26 "Therefore I say unto you, Take no thought for your life, what ye shall eat, or what ye shall drink; nor yet for your body, what ye shall put on. Is not the life more than meat, and the body more than raiment? Behold the fowls of the air; for they sow not, neither do they reap, nor gather into barns; yet your heavenly Father feedeth them. Are ye not much better than they?"
And then I remembered one of my new favorites, from Doctrine & Covenants 6:36: "Look unto me in every thought; doubt not, fear not." And that aria from Handel's Messiah that I have sung SOOOO many times, which is based on two scriptures: "He shall feed his flock like a shepherd; and he shall gather the lambs with his arm, and carry them in his bosom and gently lead those that are with young. Come unto him, all ye that labor and are heavy laden, and he will give you rest. Take his yoke upon you and learn of him, for he is meek and lowly of heart, and ye shall find rest."

Speaking of arias, as I pondered this later, I had another song come into my head; one that I sang many times before from Mendelssohn's Elijah: "O rest in the Lord; wait patiently for him, and he shall give thee thy heart's desire. Commit thy way unto him and trust in him, and fret not thyself because of evildoers." (Quoting Psalms 37:7)

And then I noticed another parallel in my son, Jacob. He is such a sweet and tender child, not yet five years old. Recently he wanted something, but instead of just asking for it he ran up to me, crying for it. I assured him that he had no need to cry and run around upset. All he needed to do was tell me what he wanted. I know how to take care of things for him. And as I was giving him this counsel, I realized how it fit in with these other thoughts.

It's just so interesting how these thoughts swirl around in my head. I have music, scriptures, a motherly moment, and the wise advice of a brother coming together to an important point: put this in the Lord's hands and be still. It's a great reminder. It's a great source of peace in the face of things that are pretty darn scary and overwhelming at times. There is a great sense of confidence that the Lord knows what each of us needs. He knows us and loves us. He has a plan for us. He will take care of us, even through our afflictions. We "establish our thoughts", or declare our motives and desires, by putting forth our petitions in prayer. We lay it all out there, and we can rest assured that our prayers are heard. (ALL prayers are being heard - which, by the way, is why I need to say THANK YOU to all those who are praying for me!) The Lord knows exactly what to do for us, and will help us according to our needs and according to His will.

This concept is represented well in a lovely piece of artwork that I have in my bedroom, entitled, "I Will Not Fail Thee, " and it depicts a young woman whose head is being cradled by a robed man as she sits at his feet. It is a very comforting picture that reminds me of this advice. (By the way, and at the risk of sounding like a commercial, I know it can be seen online at the artist's website:

No more stewing on my worries. No more fretting and wondering what I should do about this or that. Whether it's a medical symptom or the occasional "I have CANCER!" panic attack, it's not my job to figure everything out myself. Turn the medical question over to the medical staff, and I don't have to worry about it anymore. They will know what to do. Turn my life questions over to the Lord, and I don't have to worry about it anymore. He will know what to do.

1 comment:

Faith said...

You amaze me with your courage and faith and every good thing that makes you the awesome person you are.
I'm looking forward to getting together with you guys soon!