One month ago, I went ahead and made one of the biggest, strangest, and uncharacteristically bold changes of my life. People asked me if I was crazy, warned me about being dramatic or unstable, and expressed skepticism, curiosity, and general bewilderment about my decision. In retrospect, it was one of the best decisions I have ever made, since each day brings me a new story and hints that the life I once knew was not the life I was made for. It seems almost natural, with each passing day I am here, to believe that this is the way we should all live, though I am willing to give it more time to see the truth in that.
What did I do? I moved from a nice, single apartment near the hospital I work at and into a row house in the inner city where my patients live. I moved out of a fully furnished site with laundry and Fios and easy access to every modern convenience into a shared house and a room like my college dorm except smaller, without air conditioning, and with plenty of cockroaches and a gas leak that’s worse every time it rains. I moved away from neighbors I loved who were fellow physicians in training and into a house on a block where the neighbors shrug and freely confess they deal drugs to “make ends meet”, hold vigils in my back parking lot for gangsters who were shot, and are crazy enough to try my home cooking. I moved away from everything that was comfortable and safe into a world of rumors and sensational reputations and risk.
I thought I was going to write this blog to show off how daring and cavalier I am, but it really is just to share my daily struggle to overcome my fear of small things like the dark. I thought I was going to write about thugs and hoodlums, but there are only honest people, funny people, warm and tragic and open hearted people, understandable people here. I thought I came here to embrace the suffering and the lost, but am finding that it was I who needed a home.
I hope you enjoy the company you find here.