Whither shall I go then from thy Spirit,You might imagine that the Christian breezes through life safe in the knowledge that God is with him or her. Perhaps some do, but you will know that that is not my style. I have been unsure of my abilities as a doctor, been aware of my weaknesses, and found the needs of my patients wearisome. I have certainly not seen myself as God's agent sorting out his children's needs with a deft hand while the Holy Spirit perches lightly on my shoulder.
or whither shall I go then from thy presence?
If I climb up into heaven thou art there,
if I go down to hell thou art there also.
If I take the wings of the morning
and remain in the uttermost parts of the sea,
even there also shall thy hand lead me
and thy right hand shall hold me.
And yet strangely this week has been different after singing that psalm. I have dealt effectively with some serious problems and become aware that I provide more than a technical service. One slightly deaf elderly lady said “isn't he nice” to her daughter as she left my room, which pleased me because as well as being nice I had managed to make some technical adjustments which had improved her condition. Another rather “proper” elderly lady spoke frankly of her fears about her illness. I have known her a long time and although I could not reassure her since I think her fears are well founded, I did comfort her in the sense of strengthening her. I don't quite know how I did this, it wasn't anything I said but it was more to do with my manner and our long relationship. As she left she said “I'd kiss you if I dared” and although I was a bit nervous I proffered my cheek, to her evident satisfaction. This week I have also become aware that my colleagues whom I admire are occasionally fallible which did not exactly induce Schadenfreude, but did give me a sense that I am pulling my weight in the practice. And I spoke to a consultant friend concerning my worries about revalidation and he said there are many other GPs the authorities would want to get rid of before me.
So although I did not have a direct sense of God being with me as I worked through the past two days, looking back I suspect that he was there as the psalmist suggested. I don't know whether this insight will help. I'm sure that I will still find my patients' demands infinite, and will feel inadequate to deal with them. But perhaps a little less so. Deo gratias.