The medical school graduation I attended recently put me in the company of giants – extraordinary people who refuse to quit no matter what their situation may be. Dr. Robert’s story is one I will never forget.
While my family and I were in our hotel room getting dressed for graduation, an alarm sounded. Fearing it might be a fire, my husband left the room to check into the matter and returned ashen-faced. A man several rooms down the hall from us had experienced a severe heart attack. Paramedics and police were swarming the hallway.
We began praying for the man and his family, not knowing who they were or the purpose of their visit.
After the alarm stopped and the ambulance and police left the hotel, we stepped into the elevator along with three women for the ride to the lobby. It was obvious the women, in dress clothes, were struggling for composure. The older woman turned to the younger two and said, “Are you alright?” They barely nodded, shock engraved on their pale faces.
I asked if they were the family of the gentleman who had suffered the heart attack. They were. We learned that the gentleman had died and, worse, that he was the father of one of the graduating medical school students.
Two hours. If the gentleman had lived only two more hours, he would have watched his son graduate from medical school and officially become a doctor.
This dad was present for the birth of his son. This father guided his offspring through childhood, watched him graduate from high school and college, and then saw his boy pursue his dream of being a physician, only to miss the moment when his son was hooded and declared “Dr. Robert” by two hours. One hundred and twenty minutes.
Inside their hotel room, Robert began emergency life-saving procedures on his father while another family member called paramedics. But neither Robert nor the paramedics could save him. It was simply the father’s time to pass from this world into the next.
The father’s wife and three sons were devastated and in indescribable shock. Numerous family members had traveled hundreds of miles to watch their son, brother, grandson, nephew, and cousin graduate from medical school. A trip that began with joy and anticipation ended suddenly with horror and disbelief.
What would most people have done in this situation once their husband/father/son/brother/uncle passed on? Would they have stayed in their hotel rooms and skipped the ceremony, too consumed with grief to attend graduation?
Not Robert’s family.
As the paramedics wheeled the father’s body into the ambulance, the grieving family quickly held a meeting. They had a singularity of focus and were in complete agreement: the family had come here for one purpose, that of watching Robert graduate from medical school.
They all knew that Robert’s father would not want them to quit. Not now. He would insist that every one of them attend Robert’s graduation, the culmination of years of hard work and sacrifice.
So, dressing up, putting on brave faces, arms intertwined for support, the entire family arrived on time at the graduation hall and watched Robert become Dr. Robert.
On stage as Robert was hooded and declared a doctor of medicine, I realized that God was giving me the privilege of watching extraordinary people. People with the ability to continue in the face of heart-breaking adversity where so many others would quit.
Every person in that graduation hall who knew what had transpired shortly before the ceremony comprehended that they were in the company of magnificent human beings. Giants among mortals.
Fear not, for I am with you; be not dismayed, for I am your God; I will strengthen you, I will help you, I will uphold you with my righteous right hand. Isaiah 41:10.
TO GOD BE THE GLORY
Cynthia Howerter © 2012Read More