“Light shines in the darkness for the godly (Psalm 112a).”
“I’m here as a doctor, not a mother”, says Elizabeth Lawson. She says this in reply to Dr. Robert Chase, who connects the last names of their six-year-patient and the doctor when they are introduced.
The doctors on the diagnostic team in the TV drama House look at their boss, Dr. Eric Foreman, with incredulity. However, Foreman insists that they use the woman’s expertise even though she is the mother.
Gregory House, the team head, is not on the case, but with his best friend Dr. James Wílson, whom he discovered in the last episode has cancer. Although Wilson has been trying to hide from him because he doesn’t want his friend involved in his care, House tracks him down.
When Wilson tells House that he doesn’t want him around, House replies,”I’m not here as a doctor, I’m here as a towering pillar of strength.” Wilson doesn’t believe that one of the world’s great diagnosticians can keep out of his case.
Two doctors. Two sick loved ones. Two people struggling with their roles in the relationships.
Dr. Lawson obviously loves her daughter Emily. However, Emily has a genetic illness which gives her a life expectancy of 20 years. Her mother can’t seem to come to grips with that and has spent much of Emily’s life apparently being more of her doctor than her Mom. For example, Dr. Lawson has been treating her daughter with an unapproved drug at home as a test.
The doctors don’t know what to think of Dr. Lawson’s duality. As they are observing Emily in an MRI machine, Dr. Jessica Adams looks at her colleague Dr. Chris Taub and says,”What do you think of her mother? She called her daughter ‘the patient’. Taub answers,”If my kids were born with an expiration date, I don’t…”. (He is interrupted by Emily’s cry from the MRI machine.)
Even though Dr. House and Dr. Lawson claim to be dealing with the medical troubles of their loved ones in chosen predefined roles (i.e., ” “best friend” and “doctor”), it is of course impossible to prevent leakage from the other realm of their relationship. For example, in one instance Lawson overrules the medical team, saying,”I don’t mean to pull rank here, but I’m her mother.” Chase comments rather sarcastically that he thought she was her doctor.
House attempts to talk Wilson out of a risky procedure he prefers over the counsel of several oncologists, knowing it could kill his friend. However, when Wilson still insists upon doing it, and away from the hospital, House agrees to supervise the treatment medically at his place.
As House begins administering the high dosage of medicine which could just as easily kill Wilson as push him toward a cure, he outlines for his friend what to expect in terms of side effects.
Wilson let’s House know he is wasting his time, saying,”I know, I’m an oncologist.”
House tells him,”If you did you wouldn’t be sitting here”, and proceeds with a list of other side effects. He has crossed over from the land of friendship to the world of being a medical doctor. Still, Wilson is determined to have the treatment.
Although it is a journey, by show’s end the doctors have assumed the roles they were meant to have. Dr. Lawson removes herself from the medical debates of the House team and becomes the girls mother. When Emily is cured, Lawson talks of going to the aquarium with her estranged husband and her daughter.
House, having gotten Wilson through the ordeal of his chemical treatment, reverts to form. He leaves silly pictures of Wilson during the procedure on the latte’rs laptop in his office,accompanied by equally ridiculous music. Wilson bursts out laughing hysterically. His best friend has come through.
Understanding our identity and our role is a crucial thing in life. It is abolutely essential to live a life in God.
Today I listened to a talk by Christian pastor and speaker Jonathan Welton, who talks of how getting an understanding of who he is in Christ delivered him from a 10-year battle with lust. Welton notes how grasping the power of God’s grace to give him self control and reign in life delivered him (Titus 2:11-14; Romand 5:17).
More importantly Welton also notes how Christ showed him his identity in relation to the beauty of women. Instead of being a predator, a role regularly assigned to men these days according to Welton, he understood God had called him to be a protector of women and their loveliness.
A few months ago I put on my prayer list a request that God would tell me how He sees me. Gradually, He has done that as I read the Scriptures. Here is what He has said so far:
1) )I am His child (He is my Father). He bends down to listen to me (Psalm 116:1,2) 2) I am His sheep whom He guides, protects and comforts (He is my shepherd)-Psalm 23 3) I am His marvelous creation (He is my Creator).Psalm 139:13,14 4) I am the main character in a book He is writing (Psalm 139:16).
Gaining an understanding of how God sees me, and my role and His role, has made me grasp how valuable I am to him: I am immensely so. Welton today enhanced my comprehension of this when he said that that the message of the Gospel is that we are worth dying for.
As we struggle through life we learn about ourselves. The fictional Dr. Wilson learned something in his struggle to get through the administration of potentially lethal medicine with horrible side effects. He learned that he was not particularly empathetic beforehand.
His friend House has pain from a leg injury that is always there. He constantly takes pain pills to alleviate it. After his chemical treatment, he tells House,”So the way I felt, you feel that, what, most of the time? It really does suck being you, doesn’t it?”
Wilson also comprehended how weak his attempts had been in attempting to comfort his own cancer patients in the past. He now understands, having wrestled in House’s apartment with the thought of dying of a disease he treats for other. He now gets how pathetic his comments to patients were. He always told them to avoid trying to figure out what their cancer meant.
Wilson’s journey and ours are of the same kind. It’s painful to get to the truth of who we truly are. There are times we have to face up to and set aside old judgments about our identity which we have developed over time, sometimes decades.
I recently told my pastor that I can’t figure out why it has taken me a lifetime to understand the things I know now about God. I believe I said something specifically about the length of time spent learning who I am in His eyes.
Somehow I think this long process might have something to do with God’s desire for me to grasp who He is. Jesus Himself went through the same struggles I have had to and will continue to face my whole life (Hebrews 4:15).
I am called to follow in His footsteps, experiencing the same kinds of things He did. As I do, I get an an understanding of Jesus’s heart, and that although He is God, He is also truly human.