A Rare Me

I am enjoying a rare somewhat free weekend. I say that my weekend is somewhat free in that I have cut back on my clinical practice and have no hospital duties. I spend a warm evening by the lake watching Shakespeare’s King Richard the Second performed in outdoor theatre by a wonderful company. I enjoyed sipping wine with friends and just taking in the wonderful performance as the wind off the lake blew gently. I am always grateful to hear Shakespeare’s language performed. As with all theatre, I love the words. This evening’s performance was simply wonderful to hear and see; elegant in its simplicity but unmatched in wonder and enjoyment.

I realize that I need the supreme creativity of art in my life. I have to counter my analytical penchant in order to keep connecting with humanity. To this end, my artistic friends  are some of the most gifted individuals that I encounter in my very small academic circle. I have learned much from them that serves me well. As I move more into my ministry and do less medicine/surgery, I appreciate their creativity. Since I haven’t a creative bone in my body, I am often amazed at the sheer genius of my non-scientific friends especially one that has begun to communicate with me again (my good fortune).

This past week has been something of an unfamiliar paradox for me. I spent a small amount of time with my former friend who had abruptly stopped communicating with me. I had gravely missed sharing work and travel experiences with him but found myself in his office for some great coffee and conversation. I am happy that he asked me to drop by if I could get a rare free moment (emphasis on rare).

He hasn’t changed in his infinite energy but the enormity of his biting intelligence, make that sheer brilliance and wisdom on a variety of subjects is quite intimidating for me now. I don’t know why but I do know, with certainty that I am in the presence of a very rare and gifted human being and for that, I was grateful albeit shaking for most of the time that I spent chatting with him.

I shared a bit of my overseas travels but I am quite different and not at all self-assured. I found that I was a bit frightened to be there in his office, a feeling that is very unfamiliar to me, the adventurer, the challenger, the alpha woman. On my run the next morning, I tried to figure out why I had such fear because he was gracious, generous, great fun and affirming. He is a total character and gifted academic. It had been months since we last spoke but I have great admiration for all that he does with seeming ease. As the rest of the world is going down the street, he is going around the world; I am in awe. He is the master and I am the student though we are the same age he is light-years beyond me.

I have to admit that he challenges me in a way that makes me glad that he might still be a friend, though I have much fear now. He sets the bar high and I have more caution in my actions these days. I changed. I am introverted, more introspective and quite solitary.  I will not reach out any more; a characteristic that I have lost and will not regain. Experience has taught me the lessons of reserve and reflection for which I am grateful. I hope serenity will come too. It is clear that I don’t know myself but I am learning.


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