Monday, June 8, 2009

Dr. Paul Farmer

From Jules Wandering Weblog:

"It’s the Dr. Paul Farmer story, Mountains Beyond Mountains. Basically, it’s the true, ongoing, yet-to-be-finished story of a man whose mission in life is cure the world. The phenomenal and wonderful thing about Dokte Paul is that he plans to do this one patient at a time, until all people are healed.

Here was a man who has accomplished miracles for the desperately ill and poor. He has changed whole systems through will power, faith, and trust in the goodness and need of those with whom he was working. He did this with creativity, dynamism, and admittedly the bending and breaking of many rules. He never said something was impossible, or stupid, or unrealistic, or that the resources were not enough. In fact, Paul often stated that the problem wasn’t lack of resources but their distribution. If we all really lived as though the only nation were humanity, the problems would not only have solutions, they would be moot. Rather than thinking outside the box, Dr. Farmer had decided that the box was no longer necessary at all in order to orient himself and his work. Operating from a position of confidence, optimism, and trust, rather than from their hateful twin – cynicism – , he had and continues to transform the world."

I think Jules wrote this so beautifully that I had to copy it here. It intrigues me how she and Tracy Kidder describe this man. Doesn't it make you want to meet him? I aspire to be as bold in belief and action. To approach the world with optimism, trust and confidence-- believing that things are possible and resources are plentiful -- ultimately living in faith.

What would it be like if we lived and believed the only nation were humanity? What would we do, or not do, or put energy toward?

We are all called to social justice, the question is whether we are listening. This is one example of a real man, addressing a real need and having an impact around the world:

Regarding social justice, I often find that I am distracted by everyday activities ~too busy with this and that. Immersed in my own troubles, that I forget how fortunate I am. I lose sight of the beauty around me. I take for granted the simple things. And, forget the ache and needs of my neighbors.

Tonight I say a prayer of thanks for my life of luxury. I ask for guidance in how I can be most useful to the world. I want to make a difference. When reflecting back I want to know that my existence has meant something to my community. I want to fully utilize my gifts. I want to give my gift of time, talent and treasure (now to find the talent and treasure-- where did I put them?) I will look under the couch-- most things are there.


Dee Dee Ball said...

You just eed to put on a big hat. Talent and treasure ooze from you baby! :)

Erin said...

A big hat? A sombrero? Cowboy hat, purple lady hat? What type of hat would this be?

Alison said...

He is speaking at UW this week! I'm going if I can get a seat. Will let you know how it goes.

Anonymous said...

Erin - Paul Farmer's book is one of the best I read last year. My mother sent it to me in New Orleans when I decided to take a year off from work so I could discern in earnest what to do with the rest of my life. Farmer's commitment to accompaniment in Haiti while "evangelizing" the world through his public health research, consultations and advocacy overwhelms me. I was deep into some books about Oscar Romero and also a book titled "Happy Are You Poor" at the time the Farmer book arrived in the mail. I passed his book on to my parish priest, who probably has not been able to read past all my stickie notes and scribblings and folded pages. The book, for me, was like a could I not begin to transform my life from one of privileged "helper" to one of accompaniment? How wonderful to find the book here. Jean