Guest blogger Lauren Roddy, one of seven students in this summer’s Community Health Immersion, writes…
Several of my friends and family have been astounded that a place like Siloam exists, where the individuals who need it most not only receive excellent health care, but also are treated as whole people, like the beloved children of God that they are.
Why is it so hard for us to think of care in these terms? After all, as Christians, we are called to care for and love the poor, plain and simple. This is certainly not to say that those not of a Judeo-Christian faith tradition can’t or don’t have a heart for the poor, but we have specific Biblical instructions and moreover the framework to do so.
“…we are trained…to compartmentalize our lives.”
I don’t think that the problem is necessarily that not enough health care providers are Christians, but rather that we are trained, in America in general but in medicine in particular, to compartmentalize our lives. Our work, family, and church are kept separate, and we are encouraged to leave all personal ideas, passions, and faiths at the door. How can we expect to help prepare individuals for their unique purpose as children of God’s kingdom if we don’t claim our place there as well?
I am grateful and blessed to be a part of the Community Health Immersion Program at Siloam this summer and to have the opportunity to shadow providers that bring their whole selves into a holistic model of healing. Patients not only have access to a Behavioral Health Consultant and to Pastor Doug, who make sure the patient’s social and spiritual needs are met, but they experience God’s love from the front door to the back.
I have witnessed providers over and over again spending a few extra moments to make certain that patients feel heard and that their unique experiences are validated. In return, the patients have a deeper trust in the medical expertise of the providers, and, sometimes, express a deeper hunger to know the Lord.
I challenge each of you to interact with others as whole people loving whole people. I pray that I can emulate what I’ve seen and learned so far in my future medical career, and I hope that everyone at Siloam knows that I want to be y’all when I grow up!