I (Scott) passed my Recertification Exam for the American Board of Family Medicine!
I'm a fully-certified Family Physician until 2023!! Yay!
It's difficult to describe the burden that has been eased from my shoulders.
It's been ten years since my last recertification exam. Just to qualify to sit for this exam, there were hundreds of hours of "continuing medical education" requirements, on-line clinical simulations, and, of course, a $1200 fee which would be lost if I didn't pass. And this is the same exam given to the 30 year olds just finishing their residencies in the USA.
Make no mistake about it, I am a highly functioning African doctor. If you have malaria, dengue fever, schistosomiasis, cryptococcal meningitis or any of the other myriad infections associated with AIDS, or a baby in distress which needs surgical extraction… I can take good care of you. But none of those things were covered in this 8 hour computerized exam. Rather, I was pimped on diagnostic tests like d-dimer and BNP which I have never ordered, drilled on dozens of antidepressants I have never prescribed, and quizzed on medical problems which I never see in Africa (sarcoidosis?)… Not fair? Well, yes, I'd say so.
But when I saw this exam coming, in addition to laying out a brief study plan, I began to ask for prayer.
And this brings me to a moment of Advent reflection. Bethany recommended an Advent devotional to us this year entitled Silence and Other Surprising Invitations of Advent by Enuma Okoro. It's a daily devotional which looks only at the experience of longing, doubt, silence and seclusion of Zechariah and Elizabeth. One of the first passages looks at Luke 1:10-13 where Zechariah enters the sanctuary… and behind him is a community praying. The author stunningly captures the beauty and power of praying community…
Everyone understands the gravity and intensity of what it meant for the priest to enter God's presence. Praying for one another can be a beautiful way of acknowledging the demands, perseverance, and vulnerability that authentic faith requires of us…
Zechariah approaches the Temple supported by a community of believers. In an avoidable way he faces his task alone, coming before God alone. But in powerful and mystery filled ways the prayers of the people outside the temple support Zechariah…
A believing community shoulders hope when circumstances seem hopeless. A believing community speaks boldly into despair and longing and suggests that things do not have to remain as they are in the presence of a holy and imaginative God...
During Advent, as we wait for the fullness of God's promises in Christ Jesus, we are invited into humility and gentleness of spirit to whisper our longings to one another and to elicit a new depth of sharing with one another….Naming the ache of our yearnings is indeed faithful. It opens wide the gift of receiving and embracing the prayers of others.
May we begin to look around and discern with wisdom the people in our midst with whom we can share this Advent invitation. Who can help bear the weight of our longings, or whose longings can we help to bear, while still prayerfully hoping in the fullness of God's promises of abundant life?
So, I pause and thank the many of you who heard my whispered longing to be affirmed as a family physician.
Thank you all for praying.
And I thank God for hearing your prayers.
Soli Deo Gloria.