Wednesday, November 11, 2009

Pain and Growth

It is funny how much we grow as people.
I have to tell you that as you grow older your eyes are opened to so much more.
I think even now at 40 I am learning about life. I am not only becoming street smart, I learning so much more about people.
What I mean by learning about life is I am seeing it for what it is.
My assistant is 12 years older than me.
And when I was out of school, for about 2 years she would shake her head at the things I said.
Almost like she was saying "how naive".
I would get ticked at her because I was in this stage in my life that I thought I knew everything.
But she was a 40 year old that knew a bunch more about life and about people than I did.
Okay, now I am forty and my eyes are opening to life.
Now all of you that are 20-40 I know what you are thinking, "my eyes are open" and you are getting a little defensive. I understand. But I can't help it. I just don't think you have seen enough to know what I am talking about.
I was talking about this to my assistant this morning and we talked about this subject.
She said by the time you kind of get it all figured out, two things happen: you are too old to use the information effectively and when you want to share it, no one younger than you wants to hear it.
(On a side note...I read an article about mentoring. The author talked about how the older dentists have a lot to offer the younger dentists and that the older dentists need to make themselves available to the younger dentists. I agreed with him. I wrote him telling him that I agreed with him and told him that the only problem with making yourself available is that no one wants to be mentored. I told him that I didn't think it was the older dentist that didn't want to give the help, I thought it was the younger dentist that wasn't seeking it out. He whole heartily agreed with me.)
Well what has gotten me so introspective today. Well, I had a friend die this weekend.
He was 48 years old. He was a father of FIVE children. He was a great man who had a great wife and he had great kids. His oldest was 21 and his youngest is turning 9 this weekend.
He was also a member of my church.
Are you freaking kidding me? This is the stuff that my assistant was shaking her head at me about when I was 26.
I didn't know pain. I didn't know loss. I didn't know infidelity. I didn't know divorce. I didn't know the depth of darkness in people's lives. I didn't know apathy. I didn't know failure. I didn't know job loss. I didn't know bankruptcy. I didn't know death.
On an another aside....
I love Michelangelo and this is one of my favorites. This is his sulpture called St. Matthew. They thought originally it was an unfinished work. (double click for a full size) But what it is, is the emerging, the growing of Matthew. He is becoming Matthew. He is becoming the man. I just think this work is so powerful.
Okay back on track.
So this weekend was unbelievable. You don't know, at least I hope you don't know this stuff at 26 years old.
Man was this hard. I was one of the first people over to the house when the family was finding out. Talk about pain.
Where is the life handbook that talks about this?
In the last couple of years I have been exposed to a lot and it is not all good. So how do I live my life and not have a complete mental breakdown? How do I live and "consider it joy" as the Bible tells us to do?
How do I avoid the midlife crisis now that I recognize why more people are going through this?
You never make as much money as you wanted. Your relationships are hard. Your friends are getting divorces. Your parents are dying. Your friends are dying. Your kids are angry with you. You have more work than you can accomplish in the week. Your staff is angry with you. There are problems with patient management. Bills are piling up. And there is pain. So much pain. AAAAAAARRRRRRRRRRRRRRRGGGGGGGGGGGGGGHHHHHHH!!!!
I don't know the answer to my own questions. But I do think that having a spiritual life helps.
I came across a Bible verse this week that spoke volumes to this question.
It is 1 john 2:15-17
Do not love the world or anything in the world-the cravings of the sinful man, the lust of his eyes and the boasting of what he has and does- comes not from the Father but from the world. The world and its desires pass away, but the man who does the will of God lives forever.
Now I don't want to get all Jesus on you but when you are thinking past this world and you believe in what comes next...you can rest a little.
I can totally understand Paul, in the New Testament, when he says (and I paraphrase) "Lord take me now. Take me from this stupid life and get me out of this stupid earthly body. "
I am sorry to be such a downer today but this is where I am at.
I promise I will try to talk more about teeth soon.
Have a good Wednesday, I hope it's better than mine. Burial is at 2:30pm today and Memorial service is at 3:30pm.
John
I have thought a lot about what I said in my last blog. When I talked about not liking your job and not liking where you are at, my response is CHANGE IT.
I am sorry if I have trivialized this issue. I am sorry if I didn't see this as a very painful topic for some people.
I see the error of my ways. My (I hate to keep coming back to this phrase) eyes have been opened to how this can really weigh on someone and I am sorry.
If you want to talk my personal email is Jgammichia@aol.com . Any time.

4 comments:

Drew Byrnes said...

John,

I do not claim to have the wisdom of someone with as much life experience as you, but if I can share some wisdom that God has showed me, James 1:2-4 "Consider it pure JOY, my brothers, whenever you face trials of many kinds, because you know that the testing of your faith develops perseverance. Perseverance must finish its work so that you may be mature and complete, not lacking anything."
How can we have JOY when we experience trials? Well, in every hard time, I find myself turning to God. Even if it is just to ask Him "why?" I still turn to Him. These hardships can provide opportunities to depend of God. In my life I have found that there is no greater joy than to know the Lord. If it takes a tragedy in my life for me to know God more, then I'd say it was worth all the pain. I know, I know, try explaining that to a 9 year old that just lost his father. The family is in my prayers.

John thank you for being honest about what is going on in your life. I always enjoy reading these (when I'm not studying) Keep keeping it real.

-Drew Byrnes

p.s. I can't WAIT to be mentored!

Susie G. said...

This is brilliant. And, accurate for so many. Thank you for the bible verse to sum it all up, and to "keep hope alive."
I was in private practice in a small town; complacent and resigned that this was my life. And, the hand of God ( at least that what I believe) wiped that slate, and used what I call my "eilderness experience" to benefit this new place in mt life. Who would guess? Still, sacrificing those "things", and leaving your established life is scary,and sometimes I've wondered "was this God's true intent?", but overall, I would do it again givwen the same opportunity.
Keep writing, especially for all my friends still out there in private practice, as well as for me.

gatordmd said...

Susie,
Thank you for the comment.
Brilliant. I like that word. Unfortunately none of my dental professors ever used that word around me.
I hope you keep reading because I am going to keep writing.
Thanks again,
john

Anonymous said...

Two years later and your comments are enriching my spiritual walk of faith. Thank you. I recently spoke at a friends funeral and had to try and say something to his 9 and 7 year old about their dad taking his life. Not much explaining can be done with that, but a dear friend helped me convey this:
When the worst thing that you can imagine happening happens, it is not the last thing that happens.

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