My name is Lauren Barron and I am a family physician. I think the fact that my pediatrician when I was a child was a woman shaped me tremendously. She was an older woman, very matter of fact, so "matter of fact" in fact that it did not seem like a stretch at all when asked what I wanted to be when I grew up: a doctor. In retrospect I realize she was one of very few women physicians at that time, and I often wish I could have a convesation with her now, as an adult, about what her medical training was like. What seemed quite ordinary to me was in fact extraordinary. Later, in my teens, I was referred to a clinic for joint pain and there met another woman physician who was kind enough to invite me to lunch when I told her of my dream of doctoring. We set a date and my father dropped me off at a cafe off of Main, right in the heart of the Texas Medical Center. She spent an hour with me talking to me about the kinds of courses I would need to take, encouraged me to volunteer in the medical field, told me about the challenges of being a woman in medicine--she even gave me advice on what to wear during the interview process! She told me to WEAR RED! Years later I found myself in medical school, walking past the professional building where she worked and where I had my appointments, and walking past that same restaurant (now chinese instead of a deli)and I often thought of her through the years of training and on into residency. How extraordinary it was that she actually took time to take a little girl to lunch. During lectures on rheumatoid arthritis and some hereditary joint diseases I would remember her and realize that she must have been researching the gene I was just now learning about when she drew my and my family's blood, or realize she was ruling out this or that disease that I was just now reading about for the first time in a medical text book. The older I was, the longer in medical practice, the more amazed I became that a Fellow in a Rheumatology Residency took time out of her day to spend an hour with a shy and awkward girl from the blue collar part of town. Recently, at my desk with a rare 30 minute span of time, I wondered...maybe with the help of the internet I could actually track this woman down and thank her. I did not remember her name or much about her other than that she was from the east coast, and that she was working in the rheumatology department at a certain clinic. I was able to narrow the time frame to within a few years and lo and behold, the fellowship program at Baylor College of Medicine was able to provide me with a list of their fellows over that decade. There was only one woman on the list, so it had to be her. I was stunned when I read her name. It was Barron, just like mine...the same as my married name now. I could never have known that I would be like her in more ways than one. Now I am called Dr. Barron, just like her! A bizarre cosmic coincidence I guess, but somehow a special and heretofore secret confirmation that I was on my way in the past to my true vocation. I am grateful that I was able to find her via the Internet--something I never could have done 20 years ago--and send her a note, telling her this story, the same way I have told you now, and thanking her for seeing something in me that others would have overlooked. Many of us hope and wonder about making a difference in this life and many of us do. But we do not always get to see the fruit of the serendipitous seeds that we have planted along the way. I am grateful to have been part of a story that has circled back to the beginning, grateful that I could express my gratitude to Dr. Barron (albeit by email) for a moment we shared in time that marked me, a moment that she may not even have remembered (although she was too polite to say). It makes me mindful of the seeds and stories that I am scattering along my path today and every day...and the divine possibility in all of them, not to mention a sense of humor and playfulness that God must delight in as the Author and Finisher of stories like this one.
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