Everywhere I go today, I know there will be people. Particularly here in an urban setting, humanity is inescapable and that can make it seem ordinary – commonplace even. And perhaps because of this, it is all too easy to lose sight of the beauty, wonder, and complexity that is bound up in another human existence.
In the past year, I began my formal medical education and in this process I have frequently found myself in awe of the intricacy of the human body. Our bodies are a continuous whirling dance of precisely timed and choreographed chemical reactions occurring in inextricably intertwined organs that work in concert to the tune of complex rhythms and steps.
And while all of this is beautiful and profound, we are so much more than our chemistry. As elegant and convoluted as our chemistry may be, it seems minor in complexity when placed alongside the mystery of another human soul and the circumstances, people, and experiences that have sculpted and shaped that same soul.
I try to remind myself of this as I go from house to house, knocking on doors. Each person that I encounter is a totally unique creation. There is no one else exactly like them on this earth. There was no one quite like them before they were born and there will be no one exactly like them after they are gone. They are precious. They are valuable. They are rare. God has made every one of us distinct and distinctly in His own image.
The poet Gerard Manley Hopkins puts it this way in his poem As Kingfishers Catch Fire:
Christ plays in ten thousand places,
Lovely in limbs, and lovely in eyes not his
To the Father through the features of men’s faces.
As I position a blood pressure cuff on a limb or look intently into the features of a patient with a story to tell, I try to catch a glimpse of the Creator and I try to enter more fully into the privilege of serving and caring for the people of his creation who are so fearfully and wonderfully made.