01-01-2006 - Traces, n.1

A liberating point
of departure

A Spanish doctor tells about the change in her way of facing both the pain of her patients and the things of day-to-day life

by Teresa Suarez Del Villar

I am a doctor, specializing in family and community medicine. I work mornings in a public health center and afternoons as a family therapist. The Movement is the form that the Presence of Jesus takes on for me, the place where He makes Himself concrete, becoming flesh. Being in the Movement means belonging to this historic place that enables me to recognize Christ present at every moment, now, while I am writing these lines.
School of Community work over these years with Fr. Carrón has taught me a use of reason that has changed my way of putting myself in relationship with things, and thus also my way of being at the doctor’s office. My desire to do things well, to make no mistakes, made me more attentive to the results of what I was doing, rather than to the person I had before me. Now, my experience is that if I keep Jesus in the corner of my eye, it is always possible to put myself in relationship with Him, moment by moment, in everything that I do–when I have to see a patient, when I have to tell someone that he has cancer, or when I prepare a meal at home. The most concrete consequence is that my entire “I” is present to what I am doing, and I don’t waste energy calculating other things; I simply look at and embrace what is given me, when it is given me, and how it is given me.
In this way, work is more intelligent because I manage to see more things; I enjoy it more, and my heart is at rest because there is no greater satisfaction than putting yourself in relationship with the One who prefers you.
I am learning not to fear my desires, to look at them deep down, to remember that my sin is not the final word on me. What is true for me is also true for my colleagues and patients. This certainty gives me a totally liberating point of departure: when I get up in the morning, I can recognize a definitive, eternally faithful embrace, which fills life with passion and gladness.
I would not be capable of accompanying an AIDS patient all the way to his death, or his suffering family, if I thought that the responsibility for his gladness or comfort was on my shoulders. I have learned that I am an instrument for his health, but not the response to his needs, and when this “pressure” to measure up to this challenge, to make no mistakes, disappears, then an “ingenuous self-confidence” arises, as Fr. Giussani said, for going to the depths of the heart, my heart, the heart of my companions and of my patients, and to look at them, keeping in mind their desire for happiness and collaborating in awakening the questions that only He can answer.