“Dream Small” is a song by Josh Wilson. It has been at the top of my “favorites” song list recently because of the wonderful way the lyrics make a point. If you know me, you know I prefer melody over lyrics, but this song pulled me away from the music into the deeper meaning found in the words. The chorus states:
The song goes on to describe multiple “simple moments” that become the global change brought about by the Gospel, through us. While listening to it, I am struck with how well this applies to medicine. I have certainly devoted a large part of my time to the administrative work involved in medicine. But I have to admit that the “real” work of medicine, the kind of work that serves as a calling, the kind of work where the Holy Spirit can easily be seen flowing through us, is performed at the bedside. It is the work that transforms a fearful encounter into a moment of quiet acceptance. The kind of work that takes a panic stricken mother and turns her into a calm and thankful parent. The kind of work that allows a scared adult with a new diagnosis of cancer to seek solace in the Lord, and to know that He is present with them no matter what tomorrow brings. There is a unique aspect to patient care that cannot be found elsewhere. The presence of humanity, in all of its brokenness, makes us vulnerable as patients. In those moments, it is not the chief executive who brings comfort. It is not the manager who provides a quiet sense of peace. It is not the large health organization or its protocols or measures or metrics that bring healing. It is the presence, touch, and connection with a human being who cares, that makes all the difference.
The song reminds me that striving to make the world a better place doesn’t require me to dream big and effect change on a massive scale. The impact that we all can make, one on one, is what changes our world. These are the moments patients remember. These are the moments that change lives and result in lasting relationships and gratitude that endures for a lifetime. It is not the result of customer service training, scripting, or focus on performance. It is the result of the Holy Spirit, changing us, so that we can share that joy and peace with others. One by one, these encounters make a difference. As the song says “Add up the small things and watch them grow bigger, the God who does all things makes oceans… from rivers”.
“Just let Jesus use you where you are” is great advice. If indeed the Lord has placed us where we are today, and the mission field is where we stand, then the only thing keeping us from doing His work, is us. This song has given us the best advice there is, get out of the way and let God do his work, using you. “Find little ways where only you can help”.