I believe that the truly important things of my life are hard work, and that success has many definitions. I believe that my journey reveals more about me than any measurable outcome. I believe that I should stand up one time more than I fall down.
My dad’s nickname for me is “the Phoenix,” on account of the fact that on more than one occasion, I’ve risen from failures like my famous counterpart did ashes. One of my proudest moments was when, after taking a year off from medical school because of personal difficulties, I returned and went on to complete my school’s rigorous 4-year curriculum as well as a grueling 3-year Pediatrics residency. It was one of the hardest, but yet most rewarding, things that I’ve ever accomplished.
Although I am proud of the fact that I’ve overcome many obstacles, I will admit that sometimes I tire of the struggle. I would prefer an easy and constant soar to grander heights of achievement. “It’s coming,” my dad says so confidently that I wonder what he knows about me that I don’t.
In my most cynical moments, I question my calling to heal. I asked a pastor recently why I stumble along what I believe is a faith-inspired path. He told me that the meaningful things in my life will always be difficult and that God is involved because they are both meaningful and difficult. “It keeps you humble,” my dad suggests when queried.
So, in the midst of adversity, I invariably stand up (one time more than I’ve fallen) and dust myself off and prepare for flight again, like the Phoenix. I look skyward and plan my path, believing and knowing that this act and the subsequent journey — no matter how difficult each may be — are even more important than any outcome that I desire. I will celebrate in the struggle because I believe that it is the struggle—and the grace by which I traverse it — which defines me as a human being more than anything else. This I believe.
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