I am a resident physician in neurosurgery, working with the Mayfield Clinic. As part of my residency, I have rotations at different hospitals around Cincinnati where I get different experiences, work with different attendings, and learn about different aspects of my field. July 1st marked the transition from my second to third year of residency, and with that transition I was set to move from Christ Hospital to Children’s Hospital. To be honest, I was dreading the move. Not only had I developed a nice rhythm at Christ and was really enjoying the faculty and staff, but I also had experienced Children’s Hospital during my intern year and was anticipating a hostile and laborious rotation. In essence, I was facing the transition from a friendly private practice environment to the chaos of a level-1 trauma center.
I spent the morning of Sunday June 31 lamenting my situation to my mentor, Kathy, with whom I meet every couple weeks. I knew the transition was the required next step in my residency training, but knowing that didn’t help alleviate the anxiety. We finished our meeting with a prayer for peace, but I knew 6am the next morning, July 1st, would come no matter what. I was praying for peace, but by no means was I feeling it. Kathy and I proceeded to join my church’s prayer team at the 10 o’clock service that morning, and this is where an amazing thing happened.
A little girl and her dad approached us at the front of the auditorium. They were coming to seek out a special prayer for the little girl. She was five years old, and had already undergone many surgeries and spent many nights in the hospital in her short five years. That Sunday, she was embarking on another surgery and another hospital stay later that week. She and her dad were hoping the prayer team could pray for her, and for her protection, and for the surgeons and nurses and staff who would be caring for her. As it turns out, the surgery she was set to have was a reconstructive surgery to her skull, to be performed by my attending doctor, and, as it turns out, me. With my transition to Children’s Hospital, I was going to be the resident assisting on her surgery. And I was going to be the resident caring for her during her hospital stay. This little girl and her dad were asking for a prayer of protection for her, but also a prayer of skill and knowledge and clarity for me.
As we kneeled down to surround Audrey for our prayer, I was overwhelmed by what I thought was coincidence. But as Kathy prayed, the little girl gravitated towards me, and by the end of the prayer, she was hugging me with open arms. In that moment I realized that God had sent me a messenger to relieve my anxiety and remind me that embarking on my rotation at Children’s Hospital was exactly where God intended me to be.
The little girl needed me to be with her that Tuesday, and she reminded me to trust in God’s plan. In surrendering my anxiety to God, he sent me a messenger to remind me that my job transition was all part of the greater plan for bringing his Kingdom to earth. (To think I had been fearful of an opportunity to be God’s hands!) I was supposed to be her guardian in the operating room that day, and she was supposed to deliver to me God’s message of peace.
I went home that day overcome by a sense of calmness. It was as if God had covered me in a protective cloak, free from anxiety and fear. I no longer was lamenting my transition, but rather I was excited for the new experience and new opportunities ahead. All it took was a little girl reminding me to listen for God’s voice, trust in his plan, surrender my own, and willfully obey.