Posts tagged ‘mentors’

What Does God Expect?… Journey

Looking back over the course of my life, there is not one thing I can say that I accomplished on my own without help from others. In grade school I can remember every one of my teachers who helped me understand math, reading, and how to write. In fact, the learning process itself demonstrates the need we have for others. Every invention ever made has come as the result of its inventor building upon the successes and the failures of others. I think of the professors I had in college who taught me how to think critically, read expansively, and write creatively. And then I think of fellow students who shared their knowledge with me which helped me get through calculus and physics classes.

Once in medical school, there were countless professors, medical doctors, and fellow students that helped me understand what would have otherwise remained secret and hidden from me. However, it was in medical school that I learned the most from those who knew the least. These were people who did not know medicine, but asked questions that I often had never thought to ask myself and didn’t know the answers without research. These people pushed me to become better. Some of them were brilliant in different fields of study, but knew very little about my field of study and yet they were part of my journey to become an accomplished physician. Some them were high school dropouts or even drug addicts, but they often taught me more than my professors of medicine. These people were my patients. Without their questions, their acceptance of me as a physician in training, their willingness to journey with me, my journey would not have been complete.

Of all the patients with which I interacted during my training, one stands out as teaching me the importance of seeing each person as an individual who has intrinsic value and who will add to my journey. Prior to Mr. Keith, I had seen patients as patients to be treated, not as people to be known and respected. I had seen me helping them rather than us helping each other. I had seen a patient-doctor relationship where I treated their illness rather than a person-person relationship where we each contributed to the other’s understanding of life and the journey we are on.

As a medical student on duty this particular night, I was given the task of drawing blood from Mr. Keith for an important lab study. He was a slight man in his eighties residing in the ICU who did not respond to my greeting. I briefly explained what I needed to do. He still did not respond. I prepped his arm and punctured his skin with the needle as I had done on a hundred other patients. But no blood came into the syringe. I advanced the needle further without success. I withdrew the needle slightly and repositioned it, without success. I removed the needle & re-prepped his arm repeating the process again, without success. I went to his other arm repeating the entire process, without success. I spent 30 minutes with Mr. Keith trying to find one of his veins while he laid motionless with his eyes shut. I finally left his bedside without completely my task.

Later that morning we did rounds on all the patients. Once we made it to Mr. Keith’s bedside I had to explain how I had failed to draw his blood during the night. The attending physician simply said to try again after rounds. At this point the heretofore motionless Mr. Keith sat upright in his bed and said, “Don’t let that guy stick me again!” I didn’t, at least that day. But over the course of the next several weeks, Mr. Keith became a mentor to me. I got to know him as a person rather than a patient. He had served in the calvary during World War I. His wife had died a few years earlier and now he lived alone. He was an intelligent, witty, resourceful man who taught me how to see obstacles as opportunities. It was a privilege to journey with Mr. Keith for over two months.

I’m thankful for Mr. Keith who taught me that the destination may be important, but it’s the journey that really matters. And our mentors are all around us. How is your journey? Who is mentoring you today?

Day 57 to Vesuvius, VA – Maps and Mentors

Maps are great, but they don’t tell me everything about the ride each day. The mileage is quite accurate as are the directions on when and where to turn. The bike maps have a section that gives me a rough idea about elevation gains, but this information is much less specific and often misleading. There have been many times when the climbs look impossible and are actually very doable while other times they look easy when they are nearly impossible. The maps also have a section that describe the typical weather for each month of the year. Of course, this information does not tell me what the weather is going to be like on any given day of the ride.

Now let’s look at the ride today and compare it with the map’s information. The ride was 3 miles shorter than I had calculated from the map, which is actually unusual. The climb at the end of the day was much more difficult than it appeared on the map. The road surface was less than optimal which is very important to know for any given ride but is not addressed on the map. I began riding in a dense cloud cover that gave way to sunny skies. Four hours into the ride a thunderstorm developed with heavy rain for 30 minutes. The sun came back out accompanied with such high humidity that I wished it was still raining. And of course the maps were of no help in predicting such weather. 

Maps are important. I could not make this trip without them. And once I learned how to read the TransAmerica bike maps, they have been an invaluable source of information and direction. Their purpose is to give me information about the location I am riding for the day and how to get to where I’m going. 


The Bible is like the TransAmerica maps. It gives me great information about the world in which I live. It gives me directions on how to get to my final destination, heaven. And it gives me information about what to expect along the way. The actual ride through life, however, will be filled with challenging climbs and unpredictable weather changes that the Bible does not specifically address. We get into trouble when we expect to get information from the Bible that is not there. I am thankful that God has given us the Holy Spirit to be with us and guide us through our specific challenges and trials. He also gives us mentors to help along the way. So the Bible is our map to get from this earth to the New Earth, but never underestimate the need for your personal support team that starts with God’s Spirit and is rounded out by God’s church. You might otherwise misread the map and find yourself stuck in a rainstorm halfway up an impossible hill to climb.

 Ride Stats:  Total Miles- 62.7   Elevation Gain- 4,957    Avg Speed- 11.1 mph   Avg HR- 114


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