Beautiful and Strange

There comes the strangest moment in your life,
when everything you thought before breaks free—
what you relied upon, as ground-rule and as rite
looks upside down from how it used to be.

Your heart’s in retrograde. You simply have no choice.
Things people told you turn out to be true.
You have to hold that body, hear that voice.
You’d have sworn no one knew you more than you.

How many people thought you’d never change?
But here you have. It’s beautiful. It’s strange.
~Kate Light from “There Comes the Strangest Moment” in
 Open Slowly

This disease of being “busy” (and let’s call it what it is, the dis-ease of being busy, when we are never at ease) is spiritually destructive to our health and wellbeing. It saps our ability to be fully present with those we love the most in our families, and keeps us from forming the kind of community that we all so desperately crave.

Tell me you remember you are still a human being, not just a human doing. Tell me you’re more than just a machine, checking off items from your to-do list. Have that conversation, that glance, that touch. Be a healing conversation, one filled with grace and presence.

Put your hand on my arm, look me in the eye, and connect with me for one second. Tell me something about your heart, and awaken my heart. Help me remember that I too am a full and complete human being,…
~Omid Safi from The Disease of Being Busy

Now that I have officially committed to reduce to part-time clinic work nine months out of the year with summers off, I’m struggling with the strangeness of waking up with no job to go to. I’m no longer paid to be busy. It feels a bit like I’m vigorously treading water but with no destination in mind other than to stay afloat. Maybe that’s enough to just move and breathe but until I get my feet on this new uncertain ground, I won’t make much progress.

With no little trepidation, I have decided this is the time to start backing off from all-consuming clinic responsibilities, knowing I was becoming less effective due to diminishing passion and energy for the work. I’ve worked in some capacity for over fifty years, throughout school and graduate school. Not working feels, well… very strange. It makes me question who I really am and how not leaving home for a job changes me. I can barely remember who I was before I became a physician.

So here I am — changing — whether it is taking on new color or shape, exercising a different part of my brain, or simply praying I will make good use of this time to do something as worthwhile as what I have been doing.

And once again my days … will be … strangely beautiful.

7 thoughts on “Beautiful and Strange

  1. So appreciate your sharing your journey with us. It is oddly comforting to reach an age where things bother you less, including your own shortcomings, realizing that the end is in sight and wanting to make the moments count, yet without urgency. Enjoy your days. I marvel at physicians, to help so many people, often times not realizing just how much, God bless you!!♥

    Liked by 1 person

  2. I wish you well. When I retired from the full time pastoral ministry, I took a planned six sabbatical and then, as planned, returned to part time service and loved it 😁

    Blessings to you Bill “Old Turtle” Mooney

    Liked by 1 person

  3. I’m happy that you are scaling back your work. Wise decision! My heart ached for you when you spoke about seeing so much despair and sadness every day. I hope you can rest and soak in life at home to restore you. You write so beautifully about the richness around you on the farm. I have been “retired” for a long time, and I still feel the need to be useful. So I can relate to what you’re feeling. Happy days! Diann, Dagsboro, DE.

    Sent from my iPhone


    Liked by 1 person

  4. Oh Emily! I’m so happy for you! Thank you for sharing this with us. I look forward to reading your discoveries in your new season!

    Liked by 1 person

  5. Oh! I hope you can enjoy the spaces. Yet want to add this, in answer to your “…simply praying I will make good use of this time to do something as worthwhile as what I have been doing.” You are! You do! Your words of ponder and inspiration, and your breathtaking photo, bring great beauty and meaning to the world. Thank you.

    Liked by 1 person

  6. Emily, that is lovely. And I’m glad you are opening to the uncertainties. When I retired several years ago, one of the best advice came from another MD friend, who said “it’s not an event, it’s a process.” The message being to let it unfold–she said a couple of years or longer. (Actually I’m working again, filling in some, and with less pressure the joy and gratitude are back, that I remember from long ago). And each of us has a different journey–medicine has never (for whatever reason) been my identity. And it’s been a great ride.

    Liked by 1 person

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