I recently attended a seminar entitled, “LAMB-Learning About My Body.” The series, hosted by a local regional center, focused upon how parents and children with special needs can work together to discuss and explain the physical and emotional changes that children encounter as they become adults. In an introductory session, the parents and children were separated into two different rooms. The parents were handed a questionnaire and asked to give the reasons why we were attending the seminar and the challenges we face with our children. One question elicited a few uncomfortable responses and giggles from the parents, “How did you learn about your body, puberty, and sexuality?”
The vast majority of the parents answered with remembrances of parents, schools, and friends. But two of the parents gave nearly identical and intriguing answers. “I grew up on a farm so I was exposed to all of this at a very early age. It was very natural to see and talk about it.”
I smiled and nodded in agreement. There are many topics that bring discomfort to the listener or are inappropriate to publicly discuss. Sex is definitely high on that list. But for the two adults who grew up on the farm, there was never any awkwardness; it was an integral part of their upbringing.
As a physician, I have been privileged to experience many things that most people can only imagine or may make many uncomfortable and squeamish. I have held living organs like a liver and heart in my hands. I have resuscitated a person from the brink of death. I have examined life at the microscopic and molecular level. Sometimes I take it for granted and unknowingly allow my recollection of these experiences to slip into my everyday conversations, eliciting a few surprised expressions from the listeners. But there is a greater purpose for my experiences.
Do nothing from selfish ambition or conceit, but in humility count others more significant than yourselves.
Philippians 2:3 (ESV)
God has used my background as a physician to allow me to enter into very private and intimate conversations which most people would find awkward and chose to avoid. He has allowed me to speak to the parents of an infant just diagnosed with Down syndrome. He has brought me to families with loved ones afflicted with a rare cancer to explain the disease. He has directed me to coordinate the care of families needing multiple physician specialists dispersed over several hospitals. God has taught me that my experiences are a vital link for these families.
Whether one grows up on a farm or is a physician, God gives us life experiences for a much greater purpose than our own development. I am grateful for what God has allowed me to experience so that I may better serve Him in His kingdom.
Love and trust the Lord; seek His will in your life.