This I Believe

Renee - El Paso, Texas
Entered on October 23, 2006
Age Group: 30 - 50

Each of us is two parts flesh, three parts magic.

I realized this fact during my Gross Anatomy class in medical school. Week after week, I dissected those secret, unseen parts of another person. Beneath the skin of a stranger, I learned about sameness…how we all manage to smell and swallow and breathe and burp.

Someone offered herself up to the awkward hands of a student so that I could become intimate with the body of a stranger. Maybe she was enthralled with the mystery of discovery herself, but I will never know why she would make such a gift. I realized, week after week, that extracting and identifying parts of a body does not explain the most important parts of a person. Our nerves, arteries, muscles, and bones are named; our motives, wishes, disappointments, and dislikes vanish with death. What makes each of us who we are is invisible to the eye.

I have sliced another human being in half, from top to bottom, and I believe that each of us is more than the sum of our parts.