I'm nearing two very important landmarks: 1) end of my spring semester of Hell (oops! I mean PA school) 2) My mom's birthday (April 29th). These events have reminded me of the significance of sacrifice and the neglect of that concept in my own paradigm and in the culture I live in.
We don't think about or honor sacrifice.
Sacrifice is a tricky thing because sacrifice is only acknowledged after the fact. In a couple weekends, many, many college students will graduate and in order to reach that date, they had to sacrifice 3-4 years of their lives, the GDP of a small nation, and a host of other life events that were delayed to finish college. But that's a small example. This summer we'll watch the London 2012 Olympics and get excited about the American golds and the incredible athletes. These athletes will get media attention, articles, and Twitter trends--but only because of years sacrificed to actually get there. In 2010, when our Olympic swimmers were dedicating 8 hours a day in a lap pool, there wasn't a word from NBC flashing the news that "this was big day: an Olympiad did his 3 workouts and sacrificed other life choices to become a better swimmer." They just do it without any attention.
It's such a simple idea (I obviously like those) but I don't think about the smallest actions in life meaning the most.
So what is motherhood? What does it mean to physically care for and plan for someone each day? What is that other than an incredible, precious, and marvelous sacrifice?
My mom's life is SACRIFICE, a giving up for a long time for fruit that is often invisible... Because every day the day in caring for and planning for and loving I received from my mom informs my behavior. I couldn't read, I couldn't spell, I couldn't type, cook, write, play piano, exercise, create, drive, etc. without the painstaking sacrifice that my mom made for me for so many years.
It's obviously not for me to decide if I am "worthy fruit" of all that labor but I'm thankful. I know what it means to love because somebody loved me into life, and into a life that is sacrificial.
I'm so sorry if you've never met my mom. She is the most engaging, beautiful, caring, and intelligent people you'll ever meet. Do you ever just want to go home? Being around my mom for 5 minutes makes you feel at home because she invites you into a reality where truth and love are the center--as they should be. Mom can talk to anyone about anything, figure out anyone, and create excitement out of boredom because an exciting life is better than a dull one. My mom loves people because they're just people. Being a person just matters and if you're a person you deserve attention and excellence. She is everything that sacrificial should be without being arrogant.
These are just descriptors but behind every adjective there is an anecdote. The time my mom helped my best friend from highschool pass Philosophy 101 by tutoring her multiple times a week (and ghost-writing her papers). The time my mom took my and my 4 sisters to a nursing home every month so we'd learn to love old people. The time my mom drove my to swim practice 6 times a week for 2 years. The gatrillion times mom made gourmet food for our camping trips and packed everything for 7 people by herself. The times my mom moved me out of my dorm, apartment, house... The time my mom hosted total strangers to stay at our house all week. The time my mom made incredible food every single week for 6 years for hungry UCF ROTC cadets. The time my mom helped us memorize Philippians..and 1 John...and James.
It seems like sacrifice is time spent doing something worthwhile for someone else. That would seem to be sacrifice truly is, in the beautiful, real kind of way.
So in my struggles each day in PA school, just to survive, I like to think about (hopefully) the people with faces and names I will get to treat. Every drug I memorize has a person behind it. Every pathology I drill has a person who will be afflicted by a disease who I will help treat. That's what my mom would do. Just engage and keep going knowing somewhere down the road it may pay off.
And that makes it worth it. Give time to people even if you can't see the people yet.
Just sacrifice a little. We may just end up changing someone's life.