When I met my wife, she wasn’t my wife. She was an 18 year-old college freshman who had aspirations of being a doctor. We had a public speaking class together, and the alphabetical seating chart gods smiled down on us as I had the opportunity to sit behind her for the entire semester. As an added bonus, we ended up assigned to the same final project group. And we did the bulk of the work to make sure our group Aced the project. That’s a lot of quality time.
We enjoyed our assigned time together so much that we started spending time together voluntarily. Studying together, going on walks, going on dates. Generally doing the things that young people do when they fall in love.
That young lady never lost track of her goal to be a doctor. She worked hard all throughout college. Really hard. Three years into her college career, I would marry this would-be doctor. Not because she was going to be a doctor. Because she was amazing. The most gracious, hardworking and loving person I would ever meet. A beautiful person of high character and strong moral fortitude.
All of those characteristics would serve her well when she moved to Kansas City where she entered Medical School. That was where the task really started to seem impossible. The woman who had never known anything other than A’s started to struggle in classes. The chief goal of med school seems to be to break the will of every single student, consequences be damned. It’s no wonder so many doctors are jerks.
But my wife made it. She handled the wringer with grace and dignity. She kept the faith and she kept pursuing her goals. And all the while she was supportive of my callings and my vocational journey.
After four hard years, medical school was over, though there would be no rest for the weary. Before this highly educated woman could hang her shingle and practice the medicine, she would have to go through residency. It was like medical school, only worse. Instead of trying to make her feel dumb, the chief end was to break her will to live by introducing torturous levels of exhaustion. 80, 90, 100 hour work weeks exhausted. Add in the two kids we brought into our family during that time period, and you’re looking at a woman trying to set a record for the least hours of sleep recorded over a thirty six month period.
But tomorrow it all ends. In reality, it’s been winding down all week. She delivered her last OB patient of residency Monday night. She turned her pager in on Sunday. She’s done with clinics and rotations and only has a two day conference left. And it will all culminate tomorrow night when she stands on stage and graduates from residency.
For the first time in the 10.5 years I’ve known her and the almost 8 years we’ve been married, this woman will not be working toward her vocational goal. No more working to become a doctor. I’m finally saying goodbye to the woman who is striving to achieve her long-held goal, and finally saying hello to the woman who has achieved it.
And I couldn’t be more proud of her.
Renew and Restore