A Match Day Love Letter

March 18, 2016 § Leave a comment


As I write this, a mix of jetlag and excitement puts a gulf between rest and me.

In just nine hours, surrounded by some of my favorite people in this world, I will tear open an envelope and pull out a piece of paper. The unfolding of that paper is symbolic. It is an unwrapping – a revelation – of my future. The culmination of possibly my entire life’s work to date. And, while I am but a small speckle of dust in the universe, I feel as if I am embarking on a journey that is ancient, holy, and substantial.

The anticipation is tearing at me as I wait for the sun to show itself. Bring me closer to this unfolding! Tell me where I will spend the next three years of my life (possibly some of the most formative) for residency. Indeed, in a literal sense, where will I live? But, more importantly, where will I live and breathe the art of medicine and healing? Where will I earn the “M.D.” that will follow my name come May?

Where will I earn the sacred trust that real people will vest in me?

Medical residency is where the true learning begins, and the heaviness of this charge both haunts and elates me. I still cannot fathom the realization of this moment and the beautiful weight of the responsibility I will officially hold come graduation. I can’t help but wonder, “Am I enough?”

It’s been said that a balance of both confidence and humility characterizes true physicianship, and my humility seems to be tipping the scales as of late. How did I come to survive these past few years? How was I able to become worthy of this trust?

Sitting on my couch, alone in my dark apartment, I have never felt more connected to the characters at play in my life’s narrative. The self-doubt that I tend to feel in the abilities I’ve acquired now fade away  when I remember that I am the product of the influence of many wonderful people.

My mother, sister, and family. The anchors. You were my first teachers, and your first lesson was to love others deeply. Indeed, you taught me that love is not earned. It is doled out in plenty and will be returned in plenty. You taught me that love should be protected, and that, when times are difficult, love of family, of community, of humanity will see you through the storm. With your love, I have survived every one.

My Takafumi. The love of my life. You make the past more delightful to remember, the present more tenable to endure (think medical school), and the future more thrilling to daydream about. I’ve told you this many times, but our life together makes every bit of this journey worth the effort. We’re building something so beautiful together, and that actually gives me confidence in myself. If I can deserve someone like you, I must be someone worthy too.

My friends. The color. Your thirst for life and the way you devour the sweetness of this world have made me all the more passionate about protecting, preserving and improving the lives of others. On top of the laughter and the joy you bring to me, you offer me a vision of what is at stake.

My mentors. The guides. You helped steer my professional and personal growth at every turn, and you forced me to see myself clearly through the fog. If I have gained even just an ounce of your integrity, will, and energy, I know I will serve my patients well.

I am the sum of these parts, these perfect and magnificent parts.

When I remember that, Match Day starts to feel so right, so appropriate at this juncture in my life.

I am ready.

Where Am I?

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