While taking a walk, a sign reading, “Ivy League Doctors in Media”, a small town in eastern Pennsylvania caught my eye. Just the day before I’d attended the commencement ceremony of an Ivy league school in which the commencement speaker’s address was quite engaging. She did mention the fact that having a degree from this school was quite an accomplishment and would open doors, but she spent more time speaking about relationships and the importance of using this key to unlock the way to success. So what’s wrong with the sign? Perhaps nothing, if you heard that address and you were able to make the connection that an Ivy League education translates to those doctors’ willingness to truly know their patients. However, if that’s important to you and you didn’t hear the address, you would have to make an assumption, take a leap of faith that these doctors in fact heard a similar commencement address, took it to heart and built a successful practice founded on their desire to build relationships. I have to admit, although I did hear the address – I didn’t take that leap. The first thing that came to mind was perhaps their assumption that the institution was more important to someone like myself who might be looking for a doctor. However, I must also admit that if I was in need of a doctor, out of curiosity I probably would have reached out. No doubt, Ivy League is one of the best (certainly among the oldest), but I still don’t know know you from a can a paint and the only way I can tell if a can of paint has any quality regardless of the brand is if I open it up and use it. Only after a period of time will I know how well it holds up. I recall thousands of Ivy League graduates on that field and not all of them were adorned with those honor chords, representing the best of this quality education. In fact there were far more who had no honor chords than those who did. How do I know whether these doctors were among the best of the best or judging from the sign, among the “slackers” who think that merely having an Ivy League education is enough. Knowledge as we know, even in its purest and rarest form, does not measure up pure compassion, empathy or more importantly, relational sensibilities. After having heard that commencement address to undoubtedly a group of the best and brightest students of this time, when it comes to professions it would in part, certainly ease my mind to find someone with the knowledge and the know how, but deep down the other part of what’s most important to me is that the person truly cares. This simply can’t be done by the yardstick of knowledge. One must be willing to reach out as well as be willing to find ways and allow others to reach in. Don’t ask me to trust you solely based on what you know. No one has an open and honest relationship with an institution. Only people can do that. Meet me where I am and together let us build a better humanity that does not cloud one another’s expectation nor make assumptions about who we are and what we have to offer. Let the comfort of us knowing one another in relationship be the true asset and the knowledge simply be the fringe benefit of our lives. For me, it is in this way that I come to understand God, through Christ’s relationships, not by the fact that they called him rabbi or teacher. It is also in this way that I believe we are all called. Every individual needs other individuals (Susan Powers, Commencement Address 2015 U of PA). It’s as simple as that, a golden rule often interpreted as a permeable understanding. But we can not afford to forget or even allow it to become full of holes for our own purposes, because in the end none of us will be remembered or measured solely by what we know but rather in community and how we made a positive difference in the lives of one another. It is possible to have both and that in my opinion is true Ivy League.
Saturday’s Meditation – Psalm 90:1-4, 16-17
Lord, you have been our dwelling-place
in all generations.
Before the mountains were brought forth,
or ever you had formed the earth and the world,
from everlasting to everlasting you are God.
You turn us back to dust,
and say, ‘Turn back, you mortals.’
For a thousand years in your sight
are like yesterday when it is past,
or like a watch in the night.
Let your work be manifest to your servants,
and your glorious power to their children.
Let the favour of the Lord our God be upon us,
and prosper for us the work of our hands—
O prosper the work of our hands!
For we do not have a high priest who is unable to sympathize with our weaknesses… Hebrews 4:14-5-6 Why is it that as children, we never seem to understand that what we go through our parents have already experienced? Tomorrow my youngest son graduates from college. I now get to feel what my mother and father felt when I graduated from college. As I reminisce my yesterdays, every bit of this precious circle of life makes sense. Thank you gracious God for though your son there is not one emotion; pain, joy, encouragement or fear, that is unique to any one of us. When we begin to see you as the parent sees the child, in the same way you carried your son through it all – you carry us through.
Do not be deceived… there is no variation or shadow due to change. James 1:16-27 As the sun “rises and sets” so does the shadow reflect from the body; sometimes in front and sometimes it’s behind us. Thank you God, for regardless of the shadows reflected by my actions and choices I’ve made, your love for me never changes. Guide me daily to forever be a doer of your Word, so that as this earth that is the body moves, I may never forget the sun.
For in everything, O Lord, you have exalted and glorified your people, and you have not neglected to help them at all times and in all places. Wisdom 19:1-22
Saturday’s Meditation – Psalm 27:1-5
The Lord is my light and my salvation;
whom shall I fear?
The Lord is the stronghold of my life;
of whom shall I be afraid?
When evildoers assail me
to devour my flesh—
my adversaries and foes—
they shall stumble and fall.
Though an army encamp against me,
my heart shall not fear;
though war rise up against me,
yet I will be confident.
One thing I asked of the Lord,
that will I seek after:
to live in the house of the Lord
all the days of my life,
to behold the beauty of the Lord,
and to inquire in his temple.
For he will hide me in his shelter
in the day of trouble;
he will conceal me under the cover of his tent;
he will set me high on a rock.
For your sustenance manifested your sweetness toward your children; and the bread, ministering to the desire of the one who took it, was changed to suit everyone’s liking. As a child in my parents house, each of us had our own box of cereal. A small thing, but a privilege nonetheless, on in which I never thought was that big of a deal until I met my husband. He was one of eight children who often shared one box. Undoubtedly, someone was bound to hate that one box of cereal. Gracious God, thank you for your one everlasting Love, while remaining the same, serves and fulfills a multitude of children with a multitude of needs.
For even if we sin we are yours… In return for nothing God forever acknowledges me. I thank you gracious God, for I know that in this life I am not perfect yet by your grace, I strive towards perfection that is in the knowledge of your kindness, truth, patience and mercy. These are part of your legacy, your immortal presence larger than this life, meant to be shared with others, by one another.
For all people who were ignorant of God were foolish by nature; and they were unable from the good things that are seen – to know the one who exists, nor did they recognize the artisan – while paying heed to his works; but they supposed that either fire or wind or swift air, or the circle of the stars, or turbulent water, or the luminaries of heaven were the gods that rule the world. Gracious God, continually guide the works of my hands and the meditation of my heart that I may daily to live – not by circumstance nor coincidence but by your faithfulness and your Love.
Let love be genuine; hate what is evil, hold fast to what is good; love one another with mutual affection; outdo one another in showing honor. Do not lag in zeal, be ardent in spirit, serve the Lord. Rejoice in hope, be patient in suffering, persevere in prayer. Gracious God, your Word is love. May your Word out of my mouth always be acceptable – reaching out as love.
… for even one who is perfect among human beings will be regarded as nothing without the wisdom that comes from you… Send her forth from the holy heavens, and from the throne of your glory send her, that she may labor at my side, and that I may learn what is pleasing to you. For she knows and understands all things, and she will guide me wisely in my actions and guard me with her glory. The more I come to know, the more I realize how much I have yet to know. Open my heart and mind Lord that I may fully know you to the extent that you can fully be known. Never let me stop seeking your presence and your purpose.