It’s been nearly a week since I made the seemingly long drive to the North to commence a new journey–a new chapter–in my life. The completion of medical school was met with a most memorable Commencement ceremony followed by weeks of gift-givings, gatherings, receptions and dinners in Nashville and with my family, church family, friends, and dear relatives back at home in Augusta. I said jokingly to one of my aunts at one of the events, “I feel like I should walk around everyday now with a boutonniere pinned to my shirt.” She responded, “To you, baby, this is merely a graduation as you begin your work as a doctor. To our family, this is a graduation for all of us to something better. We’re so proud of you–you just don’t know how much.” But, I did. I do.
Being the first doctor in my family has afforded me great esteem. So palpable is the love and level of sincere pride that my family places upon me. I vow to neither let God nor them down with the charge I’ve been given. It’s a privilege to study medicine. It is even more of an honor to be called to practice it and to do so well. I am constantly reminded of and realize this more everyday.
I’ve begun to get settled here in Providence, Rhode Island, a beautiful New England metropolis with so much culture, warmth (except in winter months), and cladding in the ethos of academia. Each day since arriving, I’m just so grateful to have been matched to such a prestigious training program in Internal Medicine and vow to work hard, to strive to place my patients first always, and to always deliver the best of care as I maintain a healthy work-life balance. Brown University’s programs are so supportive that I discover newly every time I’m with my new colleagues and program administrators that God blessed me to be here and helped me make the best decision of this chapter of my life. I’m grateful, and I am never surprised at how He works and moves in my life when I make His will for my life my own. I’m simply amazed at just how He does it–over and over and over, again.
This has been a terrific season of new beginnings for all of us. My family’s moved into a new, larger, and beautiful home back in Augusta, and I’m so fortunate to have had the chance to be with them and experience the beginning of our time together in the new house. I must admit that I became slightly sentimental when, in the hustle and bustle of that big move, I was, for a moment, alone in the midst of the emptiness of the house I had grown up in and had known as HOME for the past 21 years of my life. I became tearful, and it seemed as if the echoes of the Christmases, birthdays, family dinners, learning to ride a bicycle, family time in the living room, arguments, reconciliations, news of deaths, news of births, babies learning to walk, cooking for the family, whenever the power went out during a fierce storm, leaving to go to college, first days of school, first days at a new school, graduations, and all the other memories rested upon me at the same time, and I was overcome–not by grief–but by joy and happiness and peace and love. As I stood there, walking through room to every adjacent room, I thought about the times we shared together alone and as a family. I’ll miss them and hope to never lose them. I strove to memorialize that house in a poem I entitled “Sed Pia,” which is Latin for “But Holy” or “But Pious,” an idiom I adapted from Ovid’s “Metamorphoses” in recognition that the house was small and not the most grandiose, but it was a god-fearing place. It was. Very much so. However, those reflections comfort me and allow me to reflect on the days that are to come.