It had happened many times before, but it always took me by surprise.
Always in the midst of great stress, wading waist-deep in trouble and sorrow, as doctors do, I would glance out a window, open a door, look into a face, and there it would be, unexpected and unmistakable. A moment of peace.
The light spread from the sky to the ship, and the great horizon was no longer a blank threat of emptiness, but the habitation of joy. For a moment, I lived in the center of the sun, warmed and cleansed, and the smell and sight of sickness fell away; the bitterness lifted from my heart.
I never looked for it, gave it no name; yet I knew it always, when the gift of peace came. I stood quite still for the moment that it lasted, thinking it strange and not strange that grace should find me here, too. Then the light shifted slightly and the moment passed, leaving me as it always did, with the lasting echo of its presence. In a reflex of acknowledgment, I crossed myself and went below, my tarnished armor faintly gleaming.
~Diana Gabaldon – Claire’s observations from Voyager
I’ve known this moment of peace in the midst of my work; it comes unexpectedly after a day of immersion in troubles and anguish. As I leave the clinic and breathe in a sudden rush of fresh air, and as I drive down our country road as the sun is setting, I remember that for all of us, the sick and the not-yet-sick, there still are moments of grace and beauty.
It isn’t all sad, it isn’t all anxious, it isn’t all anguish. The moment may be brief, it may be elusive.
But it is there. And I seek it out every day.
(written with gratitude to author Diana Gabaldon for her insights into the complex workings of an innovative physician’s mind in her Outlander series of novels, for Caitriona Balfe‘s insightful characterization and understanding of Claire and for Sam Heughan‘s sensitive portrayal of the man who loves her beyond the boundary of time in Starz’ Outlander – if you don’t know these stories yet, you should.)