I believe that every new day is another chance to set things right. I believe that people are inherently good, not evil, and that given the right incentives and opportunities, we all want to do the right thing, whatever that really means. I am a doctor and this belief nags at me to listen more intently, act more decisively, but also worry more intensely about how my family and patients will cope.
I grew up watching Father Knows Best and hearing General Electric tell me that “Progress is our most important product”. I believed that then. I still do. I have changed my opinion about what progress really means. I don’t think it means more iPhones; I’m still working on that one.
My beliefs have been challenged again and again during my personal and professional life. Both of my parents were killed in an airplane crash nearly three decades ago. I was lost for many years after that. I felt cheated. Their approval was important to me. I worked twelve years to become a cardiologist and then they went away. Gradually, however, I have come to appreciate who they were, and as a result, who I am. My father was also a doctor. I see some of his patients thirty years later. They remember him. They see me and in seeing me, maybe they see him. It is comforting to them to see continuity and the passing of the torch. I often visit my parents’ grave site. It is rather inconspicuous if you ask me, but the inscription reads, “Ken and Marge Lemon, Two Good People”. I think that pretty well says it all.
At age sixty, I’m sure I’m closer to the end than the beginning, but I relish every step of the way. I still love my work and the people, and yes, trying to help them out. When they recount that I took care of their mother twenty years ago, and she is just fine, I usually just smile and say, “I guess I must have done something right”. What greater gift can they give me? You see, that is enough. It’s what makes me want to keep doing what I do. I am blessed. This I believe.
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