BY REV. CORY KEMP |
As you may already know, I am a huge fan of the television program Grey’s Anatomy. Curiously, I wasn’t so sure about this eighteenth, and potentially last season. (I mean, even Gunsmoke and M*A*S*H finally ended.) But, as a loyal fan, I’ve kept watching. What I watched for was the miracle that is the series itself: taking in the incomprehensible orchestration of life.
Maggie and Winston, newlyweds, are cardio-thoracic surgeons at Grey-Sloan Memorial Hospital. In a pivotal moment they are faced with using a bruised donor heart to save a colleague’s child, or wait for the next one that may never come. It is here, in this moment, that we discover two sides of an important coin: faith and skilled action.
Maggie is all science, statistical charts and common sense. As the head of her department, she is exceptional at making good decisions and doing even better work, all designed with the singular intent of saving people’s lives.
Winston is a gifted, skilled surgeon as well, so when he called Maggie in for the consult to determine if he should go ahead and try to use the damaged heart, she balked. Why would he even ask her? Because he had a good feeling about it, if she was willing to scrub in with him to do the procedure. She still wanted to balk, but she agreed. Their teamwork saved the child’s life.
Meeting up with the child’s mom in the hospital chapel, they shared the good news that his heart was beating and she could go see him in a few minutes. Of course, mom was still in shock, so Winston simply said, “Take in the miracle.” There would be an arduous recovery and specific care with raising a boy with a heart transplant, but for now it was important to take in the miracle.
After the child’s mom left to see her boy, Maggie turned to Winston, sharing her surprise that he was someone who “takes in miracles.” Indeed, he is, and even though she believes differently, he pointed out that, together, they made a great team that saved a life.
Taking in the miracle was an undeniably beautiful series of scripted moments. Winston and Maggie know each other pretty well, but there are always surprises in any growing relationship, aren’t there? Although it may be a bit surprising for those involved in church that this hadn’t come up between them before, for many people it doesn’t until well into a relationship, even after marriage. And it isn’t necessarily a make-or-break moment, especially if approached with mutual respect, curiosity and wonder. Although Maggie sort of grilled Winston, she did so with a loving delight at discovering something new about her husband.
Taking in the miracle was also about absorbing something more than facts, figures and calculated risk. Winston and Maggie’s patient was, as I mentioned, their surgical colleague’s son. While they found her in the chapel, she also does not consider herself religious. She was lighting candles and praying because she needed something to hang onto while her son’s life held precariously in the balance. She needed to take in the miracle of this damaged heart being trusted enough to be used and implanted by people she trusted with the person she loved most in the world. All of that mattered. It mattered for her sanity, her ability to support her son in his recovery, and to trust herself to do that.
Taking in the miracle for me occurred a few years ago as I completed my work with a former coach from whom I had learned a great deal. That isn’t to say there weren’t some rough spots in that working relationship, one of which was confusing at the time, but clarified about a year later. While talking through a marketing copy point, my coach nudged me along to the why, the reason I did what I was talking about. My answer was because I am a person of religious faith. She expected me to say my why was because I am a feminist. I am, indeed, a feminist, but that is also because I am a person of religious faith. The unexpected clarity that came a year later was in realizing that my coach never understood that I am a person of religious faith. Her desire to keep pressing specific marketing actions that would help me reach more people I could help with my work never lined up with how I believed that was possible because she never saw me in that all-important context.
My surprise was equal to Maggie’s at Winston’s revelation. How did this coach, whom I had known for several years, not know this about me? As I marveled at and sorted through this pretty significant awareness, it finally clicked in that she herself was not a person of religious faith. And, in her case, she didn’t understand what that looked like. It was important for me to absorb this awareness as the miracle it was. We each have our own perspective, experiences and beliefs, and, often, we don’t see or understand other people’s context and how their words and actions inform us about that context.
Taking in the miracle, absorbing the Incomprehensible Orchestration that gives us so much and loves us at each step along the way, matters. Being who we are matters, as well as accepting people in our lives where they are, whether they believe in the same way we do or not. Taking in the miracles, absorbing them in all their glory, and glorifying the One who brings them to us, all of that takes time and practice. So, keep looking for them, all these ways that God shows up, reveals holiness, healing, comfort, joy and peace, when we expect it and when we don’t. Keep looking for them and take them in every chance you get.
About the author
The Rev. Cory L. Kemp is founder and faith mentor with Broad Plains Faith Coaching. Cory, employing her signature Handcrafted Faith program, supports ordained and lay women leaders in visualizing, understanding and strengthening their beliefs, so that they may know, love and serve God and their communities with generosity, wisdom, and joy.
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