Lindman, a seminary graduate and former Vanderbilt student now working as a cardiologist at Washington University, gave this address at the commissioning service for Christian medical students in 2002. A powerful, raw, and sobering account of the caregiving choices—and spiritual opportunities—faced by physicians in training. From Ed.
Perhaps the most significant personal transformation of this intern year has been the shift of the fallenness and brokenness of this world from an intellectual apprehension and more theoretical consideration to a monkey on my back that weighs me down, beats me down, taunts me, and dares me to give up and give in. Did I know the world was fallen, cursed, and broken before this year? Yes. Had I experienced it? Yes, but… my experience was far more limited. My life was insulated, with walls around it, protecting me from having to “touch” the brokenness in all its messiness and ugliness. The brokenness I had experienced previously in my own life and the lives of my close friends and family always seemed finite and fixable; it did not seem out of control. Was wrong to see it this way? Sure, in some sense. Was I blind to the infiniteness of sin even if more “minor”? Probably. But that is not my point here. My point is an existential, internal, emotional one. In some ways, I felt like sin, the fall, and its ramifications were contained. But, over the course of this year, that feeling has been destroyed.