I haven’t written anything specifically about being a doctor’s wife not because I have nothing to say but because there is so much. My husband and I started dating even before he was certain he was going into medicine–almost 13 years ago to the day. To say there have been rich life experiences, periods of growth, great heartache, toil, tears, and triumph, would be the tip of the iceberg. I’m not sure how much of our experience I’ll be able to put down in writing. Some is too private, some is too complicated. But as I was thinking about how to begin sharing what this life is like, the word “wait” sounded in my mind.
Wait…for the acceptance letter to medical school. Wait…to get married. Wait…for him to be done studying for the night so we can go to sleep or maybe have a conversation. Wait…for those weeks of exams to be over so we can relax and have fun together. Wait…for God’s leading into a specific field of medicine. Wait…for him to come home from residency interviews. Wait…for “Match Day”, to find out where we will spend the next five years. Wait…for our first child to arrive. Wait…anxiously every night for him to come home during those grueling years of training, even if that waiting extended into the next day. Wait…for him to have enough energy to talk about anything of substance. Wait…for those precious days off as a family. Wait…to show him each milestone of our baby’s tender life. Wait…to get really plugged in to a church as a couple until after residency, when things settle a bit. Wait…for wisdom about what life should look like after residency. Wait…to heal from a miscarriage. Wait…for interview offers from practices. Wait…for the right offer. Wait…for our second child to arrive. Wait…to get settled into a new home and new practice. Wait…to build that practice and gain rapport with new patients. Wait…to see if the other docs in the group will support him in opening a new office. Wait…for the new office to open. Wait…for those first patients to start coming in. Wait…wait. WAIT.
I’m realizing that for the first time in our life as a couple, we aren’t really waiting for anything. This is it. This is what all the toil, tears, prayers, and life have been aiming towards for the past 13 years. That’s kind of a big deal! If we didn’t start out as goal-oriented people, I’d say we certainly are now. Not having life broken up into units, rotations, years, levels, hospitals, or programs is liberating to be sure, but I think it’s a little unsettling, too. Now that we’re here, what? Is this what we expected? What do we do if it’s not what we expected?
There is just too much to pick apart in our lives to delve into our expectations and realizations here and now. What I will say is that our paradigm of living is beginning to shift out of necessity. Our daily existence is less like running mile repeats and more like running a marathon or ultra-distance race. There are fewer checkpoints and less feedback. My husband can not measure his success in grades, or new rotations completed. Things are far more subjective. Of course one can look at numbers–how many patients, how many procedures, how many consults while on call–but it has to be about more than the numbers.
What is our goal, then, now that the smaller and more quantifiable goals have been met? It is no longer about waiting until the “next thing”, but it is about keeping going, “running the race”, if you will, and running it well. We still believe that this is the course God wants us on together. Feeling assured that he is living out a calling and using God-given gifts and talents, my husband and I view each day as an act of obedience and thanksgiving to our Father who has brought us to this place and time and has never caused us to doubt His faithfulness or love.
This is “it”, the time in our lives for which we’ve waited and prepared and prayed and hoped. It will be a long obedience, and I’m sure there will be twists and turns. I also know that while we were doing all that waiting, God was molding our hearts, growing our faith, strengthening our love, and teaching us what we would need to know for this path. We will keep going, with our eyes and hearts turned towards the One who we seek in everything we do.